Electromagnetic Radiation: what are the impacts on wildlife (animals and plants)? back to the theme
do you know of any assessment, report or study on the impact of EMR on invertebrates, vertebrates or plants?
Following EKLIPSE first call for requests closed on September, 30, 2016, the following request was selected as a potential foresight topic to identify research priorities: What are the impacts of artificial electromagnetic radiation on wildlife? What are the evidence gaps that are the highest priority to address? What policy solutions should be considered?
This request was submitted by Buglife, a UK based charity devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates.
Context: In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) refers to the waves (or their quanta, photons) of the electromagnetic field, propagating (radiating) through space carrying electromagnetic radiant energy. It includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, (visible) light, ultraviolet, X-, and gamma radiation.
Science on the impact of electromagnetic radiation on wildlife is currently scarce and not always reliable. More studies have looked at potential impacts on human health but even there no comprehensive assessment is available. Currently, New technologies have had a tremendous impact on the increase of EMR in our environment both in terms of range of frequencies and volume of transmissions. It seems critical to start exploring what effects these artificial EMR might have on the biological components of the Environment. Ensuring that important ecosystem services such as pollination and pest control are not harmed by EMR and also that we are not causing biodiversity decline or reducing the amenity value of the countryside should now be investigated by science to better inform policy. Better understanding of the impacts on wildlife can also provide insights in the potential effect on human health and even support the development of reliable indicators of risk conditions.
- Published articles on studies related to measuring potential impact of electromagnetic radiation on invertebrates or vertebrates, , including studies demonstrating no impacts.
- Grey literature / unpublished report compiling results of scientific studies looking at impacts of electromagnetic radiation on any group of invertebrate or any group of vertebrate, including studies demonstrating no impacts.
- Any existing studies looking at the role of invertebrates or vertebrates as indicators for assessing potential electromagnetic radiation on human health
- Existing knowledge synthesis of impact of electromagnetic radiation on human health
Please submit references and comments by the 18th of April 2017
Documents:Last edited: 23.03.2017 11:28 (GMT) - by Estelle BALIAN
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Date: 27.03.2017 07:47 (GMT)
Please find below a paper on how electromagnetic radiation of mobile telecommunication antennas affects the abundance and composition of wild pollinators:
Lázaro, A., A. Chroni, T. Tscheulin, J. Devalez, C. Matsoukas, and T. Petanidou. 2016. Electromagnetic radiation of mobile telecommunication antennas affects the abundance and composition of wild pollinators. Journal of Insect Conservation 20:315-324.
We show that all pollinator groups except butterflies were affected by EMR in our study on two Greek islands (Lesvos and Limnos). Beetle, wasp, and hoverfly abundance decreased with EMR, whereas the abundance of underground-nesting wild bees and bee flies unexpectedly increased with EMR. The effect of EMR on the abundance of remaining flies differed between islands. With respect to species richness, EMR only tended to have a negative effect on hoverflies in Limnos. As EMR affected the abundance of several insect guilds negatively, and changed the composition of wild pollinators in natural habitats, it might also have additional ecological and economic impacts on the maintenance of wild plant diversity, crop production and human welfare.
Date: 27.03.2017 08:44 (GMT)
Thanks a lot Thomas, very interesting study. Impact on pollinators could be a major policy concern. If anyone has other references to add on this topic, it would be great!
Date: 27.03.2017 21:29 (GMT)
I like to draw attention to a most recent paper on tree damages by EMR:
Waldmann-Selsam C, Balmori-de la Puente A, Breunig H, Balmori A 2016: Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations.
Date: 28.03.2017 08:19 (GMT)
Dear Niels, quite an important study as not much has been done on impact on plants. I was very interested to see that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts is harmful for trees. Thanks for sharing!
Date: 19.06.2017 17:48 (GMT)
It seems important to read this blog article, which provides a critique of the reported Wageningen study on the impacts of wifi on tree leaves http://www.pepijnvanerp.nl/2014/10/no-clues-for-negative-effects-of-wi-fi-on-trees-according-to-wageningen-university/. The Wageningen study is cited indirectly by Waldmann-Selsmann et al, via a French Greenpeace article. it doesn't stand up to much scrutiny, and the study itself is very hard to locate.
Date: 28.03.2017 15:58 (GMT)
Please see also Halgamuge 2016: Review: Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants
Date: 29.03.2017 06:13 (GMT)
Please find below links to some of my works on the subject :
"Electromagnetic fields (900 MHz) evoke consistent molecular responses in tomato plants"
"Intercellular communication in plants: evidence for two rapidly transmitted systemic signals generated in response to electromagnetic field stimulation in tomato"
"High frequency (900 MHz) low amplitude (5 V m−1) electromagnetic field: a genuine environmental stimulus that affects transcription, translation, calcium and energy charge in tomato."
"Plant Responses to High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields"
"Low-amplitude, high-frequency electromagnetic field exposure causes delayed and reduced growth in Rosa hybrida"
Date: 30.03.2017 08:42 (GMT)
Thanks a lot Alain, I hope you do not mind that I included the titles above your links so it can also trigger some more suggestions/comments.
Date: 03.04.2017 03:56 (GMT)
RF-effects on wood mouse behaviour:
Weak EMF effects on melatonin-levels in calves:
Review including a section dedicated to the effects of anthropogenic electromagnetic "noise" on mammals:
Date: 03.04.2017 08:57 (GMT)
Thanks a lot for submitting these papers and the review.
Date: 04.04.2017 20:03 (GMT)
BEES, BIRDS AND MANKIND - Destroying Nature by ‘Electrosmog’ by Ulrich Warnke
Date: 06.04.2017 12:50 (GMT)
Thanks a lot for sharing.
Date: 13.04.2017 14:09 (GMT)
An interesting source has been submitted by Matt Shardlow from Buglife.
It concerns a significant and growing source of electromagnetic radiation pollution with clear potential policy ramifications:
Electrofishing - http://www.nsrac.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Paper-7.2-Electrotrawling-ILVO-for-info.pdf
Date: 18.04.2017 09:02 (GMT)
Some studies related to this topic were made at University of Oldenburg:
2016: Hore P.J., Mouritsen H. (2016) "The radical pair mechansim of magnetoreception". Annual Review in Biophysics 45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-032116-094545
2016: Schwarze S., Schneider N-L., Reichl T., Dreyer D., Lefeldt N., Engels S., Baker N., Hore P. J., Mouritsen H. (2016) "Weak broadband electromagnetic fields are more disruptive to magnetic compass orientation in night-migratory songbird (Erithacus rubecula) than strong narrow-band fields. Frontierts in Behavioral Neuroscience 10,55. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00055
2016: Hiscock H.G., Worster S., Kattnig D.R., Steers C., Jin Y., Manolopoulos D.E., Mouritsen H., Hore P.J. (2016) "The quantum needle of the avian magnetic compass". PNAS in press. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1600341113
2014: Engels, S., Schneider, N.-L., Lefeldt, N., Hein, C. M., Zapka, M., Michalik, A., Elbers, D., Kittel, A., Hore, P. J. & Mouritsen, H. (2014) Anthropogenic electromagnetic noise disrupts magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird. Nature 509, 353-356. doi: 10.1038/nature13290
This paper was the cover story of the 15th of May 2014 issue of Nature. It was reported on in >500 different newspapers and at least 20 different radio channels and live on BBC World News TV at 19:15 on the 8th of May 2014 and in German and Danish television.
Besides, Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) is a kind of Electromagnetic Radiation too. Meanwhile there have been many reviews and studies published about this topic. My time is to short today to compile everything, please find more about in the list of references and links below:
Klenke RA (2016): Die dunkle Seite des künstlichen Lichtes - Wo sich Quantenphysik und Naturschutz treffen. Praxis der Naturwissenschaften - Physik in der Schule 65(7): 29-37. http://www.aulis.de/newspaper_view/praxis-der-naturwissenschaften-physik-in-der-schule.html?edition=lichtverschmutzung-1
Ruß A, Reitemeier S, Weissmann A, Gottschalk J, Einspanier A, Klenke R (2015): Seasonal and urban effects on the endocrinology of a wild passerine. Ecol Evol, 5: 5698–5710. DOI:
Holzhauer SIJ, Franke S, Kyba CCM, Manfrin A, Klenke R, Voigt CC, Lewanzik D, Oehlert M, Monaghan MT, Schneider S, Heller S, Kuechly H, Brüning A, Honnen A-C, Hölker F (2015): Out of the Dark: Establishing a Large-Scale Field Experiment to Assess the Effects of Artificial Light at Night on Species and Food Webs. Sustainability 7(11): 15593-15616. DOI:
Klenke R, Ruß A, Castellani L, Büchler B (2014): Leuchtend und doch nicht zu sehen – Der Einfluss von künstlichem Licht auf Vögel. Praxis der Naturwissenschaften - Biologie in der Schule 7/63:18-23.
Ruß A, Rüger A, Klenke RA (2014): Seize the night: European Blackbirds (Turdus merula) extend their foraging activity under artificial illumination. Journal of Ornithology 07/2014; DOI:
Hüppop O, Klenke R, Nordt A (2013): Kapitel: 5 - Vögel und künstliches Licht. In Posch, Th., Hölker, F., Uhlmann, Th., Freyhoff, A. (Eds.): Das Ende der Nacht, 2. Auflage, Wiley-VCH, pp.110-138. ISBN: 978-3-527-41179-5
Nordt A, Klenke R (2013): Sleepless in Town – Drivers of the Temporal Shift in Dawn Song in Urban European Blackbirds. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71476. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071476.
Klenke RA, Nordt A, Huang J-Sh (2013): Disoriented - Birds in the modern world. In Achternkamp, U., Heubner, H., Kraus, H., Reisinger, N., Willinghöfer, J. (Eds.): Ein ornithologisches Wundertütenkabinett. 60 gefiederte Fundstücke. Die Philosophischen Bauern, pp.3.
Hölker F, T Moss, B Griefahn, W Kloas, C C Voigt, D Henckel, A Hänel, P M Kappeler, S Völker, A Schwope, S Franke, D Uhrlandt, J Fischer, R Klenke, C. Wolter, & Tockner, K. (2010): The dark side of light: a transdisciplinary research agenda for light pollution policy. Ecology and Society 15 (4): 13.
All the best,
Date: 19.04.2017 10:19 (GMT)
Thanks a lot Reinhard, we will discuss further with the steering goup but right now the idea is to keep the focus on electromagnetic radiations and not include light pollution that has also been more studied.
Date: 16.06.2017 14:11 (GMT)
Comments from Danilo Russo, University of Naples, on ResearchGate:
there are some publications on this, albeit the subject awaits (and definitely deserves) more attention. Some links below, I hope this helps.
Date: 16.06.2017 14:11 (GMT)
Comment from Joachim H Spangenberg, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, on ResearchGate:
Wouldn't it be useful to have a look at the radiation & health analyses as regarding the interference mechanisms (not necessarily the effects) all mammals should have certain similarities?
Date: 16.06.2017 14:13 (GMT)
Comment from J. G. von Brzeski, Helios Labs, on ResearchGate:
Birds loose their navigational capabilities
Date: 08.07.2017 12:42 (GMT)
Look at www.emf-portal.org for many scientific studies showing the negative effects of EMR on birds, plants etc. Also see www.emraware.com. Their newsletter (see various editions, on right of home page) has a section on trees and wildlife with links to many studies. Basically, EMR is very, very bad news for animals and plants (and for us!). I live on the island of Samos, in Greece. When the local communications tower went 4G, all the birds in the area disappeared. Now we have many new masts, and more birds are disappearing, trees are suddenly dying. It is totally tragic, and the damage is not limited to Samos. Just spent two months at the important bird sites in northern Greece. Bird numbers are way down, forest die-off in many places. But new cell towers are everywhere. Do check out the articles. One good article is "The Effects of Microwaves on the Trees and Other Plants" by Alfonso Balmori.
Date: 11.07.2017 15:30 (GMT)
Thank you for your message and for sharing your observation of the EMR impacts on birds in your region.
The EMF Portal is indeed a very good source of scientific publications on the EMR/EMF topic.
The EMR Aware website and newsletter was unknown to us, but we will explore it.
All the best,
Date: 25.01.2018 14:15 (GMT)
I like to place some perhaps useful links.
1. A link to my websites concerning tree damage by mobile phone radiation. Some of my case studies (observations) are presented. In between there are several more cases. In German.
2. An observation guide for tree damage by mobile phone radiation:
The Norvegian version:
3. A report, in German, on early findings of one of the most prominent radiation "experts". Prof. A. Lerchl found remarkable negative effects at young trees after exposure to mobile phone radiation.
4. The very useful literature data bank "emf-portal" will recently not be updated anymore, due to missing funds.
Date: 25.01.2018 14:28 (GMT)
Thank you for the links provided.
I will copy them in the other thread too, the one dedicated to the web conference.
Date: 25.01.2018 15:19 (GMT)
Funding? I see in yesterday’s news an announcement by Sprint (which is a large U.S. telecommunication corporation) partnering with National Geographic. Funding is being offered by an electromagnetic polluter (i.e., Sprint and new owners of National Geographic) directly to consumers to find “geniuses” in order to invent/promote more ways to increase RF/MW pollution. (Some of you know how I feel about this first excerpt.) I quote from the announcement:
“Sprint is an ideal partner in the effort to find the next big idea that will help bring the power of wireless connectivity to all corners of the world and we can’t wait to see the innovative ideas that come from the CHASING GENIUS community.”
Here are the first 3 paragraphs of the announcement:
"Because transformative ideas can come from anywhere, and anyone, National Geographic, in partnership with Sprint, is announcing “CHASING GENIUS: Unlimited Innovation.” This new CHASING GENIUS challenge is aimed at inspiring innovative ideas focused on wireless connectivity and the network of the future.
Advancements in wireless technology enable people to connect around the globe, sharing new ideas, information, and solutions that can change the world. Through the “CHASING GENIUS: Unlimited Innovation” challenge, National Geographic and Sprint will inspire innovative ideas for using wireless connectivity to make positive change, and award the winning idea $25,000 for further development.
The CHASING GENIUS platform, launched by National Geographic last spring, brings together a community of active, aspirational, socially conscious consumers who want to make a difference in the world. Through the platform, challenges are presented to the community in an effort to foster and grow innovative ideas around some of the most pressing issues facing the planet. Through the “CHASING GENIUS: Unlimited Innovation” challenge, Sprint and National Geographic will tap into this community and ask them to share ideas to create a better world."
Here is the entire news item/announcement:
Headline: "National Geographic and Sprint Launch “CHASING GENIUS: Unlimited Innovation” to Fuel the Game-Changing Technologies of Tomorrow"
Here is the main National Geographic program:
Date: 26.01.2018 11:26 (GMT)
ICNIRP has published in 2000 a workshop proceedings on the topic of EMF and the living environment. This is available at : http://www.icnirp.org/en/publications/article/emf-living-environment-2000.html
Date: 26.01.2018 20:17 (GMT)
.... after, they were turned. What was black, suddenly became white. and vice versa.Last edited: 26.01.2018 20:34 (GMT) - by Niels Boehling
Date: 28.01.2018 12:58 (GMT)
I must say that although I thought some aspects of the web conference were positive, I thought the committee that evaluated the research was very conservative in assessing the impacts of EMR on wildlife. Studies on sparrows (and the Everaert and Bauwens study is considered excellent) show that it is not only navigation/migration which is affected by EMR, so to put effects on behavior and abundance into the lowest (unresolved) category is, to say the least, unfair. I did not feel that the committee was entirely impartial in dealing with the subject of EMR and wildlife, but this is an EU project, and the EU is actively promoting such policies as the WiFi4EU Initiative and the Digital Agenda 2020, so I think there is a conflict of interest at the very heart of this project. How will the Digital Agenda 2020 be affected if we admit that EMR affects wildlife? And if the effects are worse than they are described in the Background Document? Can we in good conscience continue to promote wireless technologies if they are costing the planet in biodiversity? We cannot.
A look at the Buglife website shows how much biodiversity is being lost in recent years. Greece, where I live, is one of the worst places for this, and the cause is emphatically NOT habitat loss. Where I live, on Samos, (an island with no industry and no recent development) bird and insect declines really took off with the upgrading of local cell towers to 4G. This is not habitat loss, pesticide use or climate change, it is EMR. Everywhere I look there are new cell towers, plus we are affected by military installations (Greek and Turkish) and even Turkish cell phone signals, We live in an EMR soup, and the state of wildlife here reflects it, So I was very disappointed when members of the committee said they thought the precautionary principle was unnecessary, and when they ignored suggestions that a moratorium on 5G should be included as a policy recommendation.
5G is not a theory. It is already being implemented in parts of the UK, and is being tested in other parts of Europe also. The people of Gateshead, UK, have had 5G in their community for about a year now, and I understand that insects, small birds and bats have declined hugely in that time, This should be studied because a real-life experiment is taking place and no one is taking any notice.
We urgently need to apply the precautionary principle. We also need a moratorium on 5G.
REVIEW of Final draft synhesis report (Archived)
Member: Geert de Snoo
Date: 26.03.2017 08:54 (GMT)
Cucurachi, S., W.L.M. Tamis, M.G. Vijver, W.J.G.M. Peijnenburg, J.F.B. Bolte & G.R. de Snoo, 2013. A review of the ecological effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). Environment International 51: 116-140.
Member: Estelle BALIAN
Date: 27.03.2017 07:17 (GMT)
Thanks a lot, this is indeed a very useful review. Do you think that more field studies have been conducted since then?