SciArt Residency Week 2 Update

Click here for a link to my collaborative blog with Scientist and Artist Jame McCray, complete with photos, and updated weekly!

New York City has a vibrancy, an energy, a pulse that you can feel. There is the hum of over 8.5 million people, trains clatter above and below ground, skyscrapers stretch from the ground projecting light into the sky. This hustle and bustle isn’t relegated to New York alone - it’s a part of cities everywhere and the effects are felt by the inhabitants (both human and non-human).

s we are both city dwellers, and ecologists who spend a good amount of time in more natural settings, we began discussing the impacts of anthropogenic development (development produced by people) on ecosystem processes. This led us to choose “The City Never Sleeps: Ecological consequences of light and noise pollution” as the theme for our Sciart collaboration.

Jame’s doctoral work focuses on sea turtle friendly lighting, and the laws that regulate light pollution in key nesting areas for turtles in Florida. When buildings are retrofitted for turtle-friendly lights the color palette of the seashore changes. Rob will attempt to capture this shift through a large scale, panoramic embroidery. He will also attempt to teach Jame to embroider.

Resort lighting after resort has been retrofit with sea turtle friendly lighting. Credit: Karen Shudes.

Resort lighting after resort has been retrofit with sea turtle friendly lighting. Credit: Karen Shudes.

In tandem with light pollution, an increase in the noise level recorded in urban settings has been shown to alter animal behavior. For example, when competing with the background noise in cities, birds may increase song frequency (Salaberria & Gil, 2010). We will explore potential works in dance and music to illustrate behavioral plasticity observed across a variety of taxa in urban settings. Jame, who believes anyone who can breathe can dance, is delighted to have the opportunity to engage Rob in ecologically based movement.
Have you ever noticed a difference in the way you respond to being in the city versus less developed settings? Do you study an organism or system impacted by light or noise pollution?  We’d love to hear about your experiences as we begin to produce artwork inspired by the interface between nature and urban development.

Stay tuned for next week's post!