peacocks perched in a Parisian treeThis photo by ornithologist Dan Mennill of peacocks perched in a Parisian tree is a finalist in the national Science Exposed contest.

Vote now to boost UWindsor finalist in national science photo contest

It takes a special eye to capture a moment of sanctuary in a busy cityscape. Dan Mennill did that with his photograph, “Biodiversity in a noisy urban jungle,” which is in the running to win a national science photo competition.

With his submission, the integrative biology professor became a finalist in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Science Exposed contest.

“In the growing urban jungle, green spaces like parks serve as habitat islands for city-dwelling birds, providing safe havens amidst the highly modified landscape,” says Dr. Mennill.

Mennill’s research team uses bioacoustic surveys to quantify the biodiversity of urban birds. In 2023, members studied bird biodiversity in Paris, which is one of the world’s most proactive cities when it comes to protecting urban parks and reducing human-generated noise.

“We found that bird diversity is highest in areas with low urban noise. In a quiet park in western Paris, these two peacocks howled their piercing songs, contributing their voices to our recordings of the city soundscape,” Mennill says.

“Our research helps build a deeper understanding of the importance of parks for protecting birds and inform environmentally responsible urban planning.”

Help Mennill win the People’s Choice Award by heading to the list of finalists to cast your vote. Public voting opens on May 13 and runs until Sept. 22.

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