“Sound and light” – a sustainable sensory landscape for humans and nature

Theme: Pan-disciplinary

Main Supervisor:

Kate Jones

Genetics, Evolution and Environments, UCL

Second Supervisor:

Muki Hacklay

Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL

Project Description:

Wild nature and natural ecosystems are declining rapidly as humans use more of the earth’s resources and change climate patterns. There is growing evidence that these natural ecosystems and the goods and ‘ecosystem’ services they provide play an essential role in governing human health and well-being.

The project investigates the impact of artificial light and anthropogenic sound pollution on both humans and wildlife. Although there has been some research on the impact of artificial lighting and sound on wildlife, there is little integration with understanding of the impact on humans.

The overall aim is to investigate the ecosystem services provided by dark skies and natural sounds to both humans and wildlife, in particular plants, birds and bats. The project offers a unique opportunity to understand the interdependence of human health and wellbeing in relation to nearby animal and plant systems, thus providing a demonstration of the ‘One Health’ framework.

A further novelty in the project is that the design will ensure a community-based and community-relevant project through codesign with our partner Earthwatch Institute, scientists and citizen scientists. This project forms part of a wider collaboration between UCL Extreme Citizen Science group, UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research & North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences USA.

Policy Impact of Research:

Help to shape a large scale citizen science project. Study of wellbeing of human and animals from noise and light from street lighting, airports noise and traffic noise regulations.


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