Hidden city jungle
Guest: Dr Mira Aničić Urošević

‘Vegetation in urban environments has changed compared to the one in a natural setting, and pollution sensitive species have been completely neglected’, says Dr Mira Aničić Urošević of the Environmental Physics Laboratory of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade in the seventh installment of the scientific popular video series ’Garden of Physics’, devoted to urban ecosystems.

There is growing urbanization in modern societies with a great percentage of the population living in cities, so all human activities, many of which cause pollution, are packed into a small area. In these kinds of circumstances, some species cannot survive, consequently, according to Dr Aničić Urošević, cities represent genuine deserts which do not hold lichens.

On the other hand, there are species which have adapted to such circumstances such as moss. ‘They manage to grow and develop with no major adverse consequences, therefore they can be used as biomonitors. We can measure the level of pollution and everything contained inside them’, explains Dr Aničić Urošević.

Pollution substantially impacts trees in cities. ‘By observing one leaf surface we are able to conclude whether trees in that particular place sustain air pollution which is important since chronic pollution leads to the reduced resilience of a plant’, says Dr Aničić Urošević, noting that evergreen trees suffer more than deciduous ones which shed leaves every year.

Realized in cooperation with the portal ’Science Through Stories’, each episode of ’The Garden of Physics’ is dedicated to one of the fundamental topics of modern science, whether it is the greatest secrets of our times or research indicating unexpected horizons in the perception of the world. New episodes are aired every Friday online and they are available on webpages of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade and the portal „Science Through Stories“, as well as on You are welcome to join us.

Authors: Marija Đurić and Slobodan Bubnjević
Scenario: ’Science Through Stories’
Camera/drone: Zoran Veljanoski, Bojan Živojinović (Twotech Solutions)
Production associate: Jovana Nikolić
Directing and editing: Bojan Živojinović

Produced by: Insitute of Physics, Belgrade, 2020