When COVID-19 hit in 2020, countries around the globe halted all travel, businesses shut down, kids stayed home from school, and, in some places, even walking outdoors was restricted. The unexpected result was that soundscapes everywhere changed dramatically. The richness of animal sounds in cities and suburban towns—previously masked by human activity—was suddenly revealed . . . and the result was extraordinary.
To document this unprecedented event, the Silent Cities Project began, rallying hundreds of contributors worldwide to build a global acoustic dataset unlike any other. Between March and September 2020, data from 319 sites in more than 37 countries was recorded, compiled, and analyzed using acoustic diversity indices and machine learning.
This webinar will tell the story of the Silent Cities Project, the resulting dataset (which will soon be available via open access), and the opportunities and challenges of an international project of this magnitude.