Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bioscience Prize winner 2017

We congratulate Eve Treadaway for winning this year's Biosciences Prize. This is our annual student bursary, awarded in memory of past member Ursula Henriques, for the best second-year fieldwork project in the Biosciences faculty at Cardiff University.

She will receive the award at the Cardiff Naturalists' Society meeting on Monday 27 March, when she will also give a presentation of her work entitled "The biological and environmental factors that govern the ‘soundtrack’ of the secondary lowland tropical rainforest surrounding Danau Girang Field Centre", or, for short, 'Project Noise'.

Eve Treadaway writes: 

Project Noise set out to develop a new approach to rainforest bioacoustics, using the extensively described botanic plots of Danau Girang Field Centre, Sabah, Borneo as recording sites. Instead of training bioacoustic work on a particular species or taxonomic group, as is standard practice, this project attempted to record and analyse the bioacoustic product of the ecosystem as a whole, termed here ‘ambient rainforest sound’ (ARS). 

There are numerous interrelated factors that, summed together, result in observed ARS. These can be broadly divided into two groups; biological (i.e. the animal species present at a site) and environmental (i.e. weather, botanic diversity*, time). The aim was to investigate potential relationships both between factors of different groups and of factors within the same group. 

Project Noise was a small first step on the road toward assessing rainforest ecosystem biodiversity and functioning, simply by ‘listening’ to the sound produced. The findings were promising, and more extensive application of the methods employed would enable more powerful statistical analysis and preliminary algorithm design (estimating functioning/biodiversity from acoustic data).

I look forward to sharing Project Noise with the Cardiff Naturalists Society on the 27th of March 2017.


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