PhD Liao Wenfei

126600 €

Integrating urban studies with art: Effects of urban land use on blue space and bioaccumulation of heavy metals in aquatic food webs

Tieteellinen tutkimus ja taiteellinen työ / niihin pohjautuva työ | Kolmivuotinen

Urbanisation has transformed large amounts of land into impermeable surfaces, such as buildings and roads. Changes in terrestrial habitats can have consequential impacts on the quantity and quality of aquatic habitats due to the loss of habitats and the movement of energy, nutrients, and materials. In cities, runoff caused by the increasing area of impermeable surfaces, such as buildings and roads, washes pollutants into urban blue space. Pollutants, such as heavy metals, can accumulate in organisms, including humans, via food webs, and threaten our health. Yet, little is known about the change of quantity and quality of blue space in history, nor the ecological processes of heavy metal accumulation in urban aquatic ecosystems. To better integrate scientific findings in urban planning, it is important to understand the perceptions of different stakeholders for urban blue space to avoid potential conflicts and promote aquatic conservation. This postdoc project has a scientific aim and an artistic aim. The scientific aim is to investigate the ecological patterns of urban blue space and stakeholders’ perceptions: (1) how the quantity and quality of urban blue space have changed during urbanisation, (2) how the water quality of urban blue space affects heavy metal accumulation in aquatic organisms via food webs, and (3) how different stakeholders perceive urban blue space. The artistic aim is to popularise aquatic conservation and to engage urban dwellers in nature conservation: (1) to write a children’s book on aquatic conservation with artistic illustrations with scientific details, and (2) to arrange art exhibitions for children’s art on the theme of urban blue space. The project is seeking nature-based solutions for heavy metal removal in urban ecosystems for the sustainability of cities and engaging different stakeholders in aquatic conservation in cities.