Improving knowledge of Cabo Verde’s seas. The contributions of the Institute of Engineering and Marine Sciences
by João do Monte Duarte, Institute of Engineering and Marine Sciences – Atlantic Technical University
In this news, we describe two of the main initiatives in which the Institute of Engineering and Marine Sciences (ISECMAR) of the Atlantic Technical University (UTA) from Cabo Verde (AANCHOR CSA beneficiary institution) has recently contributed as scientific staff, intending to improve the knowledge of Cabo Verdean seas, especially in the coastal areas, seamounts, and deep sea.
The first initiative is the Marine Ecosystem Survey – Cabo Verde, funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and implemented by Nansen Programme from Norway under the request by the Cabo Verdeans authorities for sea affairs. ISECMAR has participated along with the International Partners IMR/EAF Nansen Programme – Norway and IEO – Spain, and national partners, including IMAR (Sea Institute) and Biosfera I (environmental NGO), in a Marine Ecosystem Survey on the Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE) of Cabo Verde on board the novel research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen during November and December 2021. The ISECMAR scientific team was composed by Prof. Rui Freitas (AANCHOR participant and marine biologist), a Biological Science undergraduate senior student, and an Oceanography and Marine Resources Management graduate student.
Rui Freitas’ research interests are focused on gathering the baseline community structure, ecology, biodiversity, and biogeography of the reef fish from Cabo Verde Islands. His knowledge covers a wide spectrum of disciplines in marine sciences including marine biodiversity, ichthyology, coastal ecology and management, and MPA studies – using GIS approaches as research focus
The main objective of this survey was to obtain an assessment of the demersal and pelagic resources of the continental shelf and upper slope of Cabo Verde waters to determine physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic conditions. For this purpose, the research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is equipped with electronic sensors, and the collected samplings were first studied onboard and later at the Ocean Science Center of Mindelo and the ISECMAR.
More detailed results of this survey can be accessed on FAO´s official webpage.
In addition, a sampling of microplastics in the water surface was also conducted, contributing to the recording of marine debris occurrence and mapping of nutrients and contaminants in commercial fish and invertebrates.
Summarizing, the specific objectives of this survey included:
- Combined demersal and pelagic survey for biomass estimation of resources;
- A standard biological sampling of priority species (including length, weight, and maturity);
- A sampling of fish for nutrients, contaminants, and presence of microplastics;
- A standard sampling of environmental variables with CTD and water sampling, including salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence, dissolved nutrients, pH, total alkalinity, and chlorophyll;
- Measuring currents with ADCPs;
- A sampling of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and ichthyoplankton;
- Sampling with manta trawl for the presence of microplastics in surface waters and with a water pump for microplastics in the water column;
- Underway pCO2 measurements in surface water;
- CVOO Mooring station hydrographic and plankton sampling.
The second initiative is the scientific mission onboard the hydro-oceanographic ship D. Carlos I, owned by the Portuguese Navy. In this initiative, an ISECMAR scientific team composed of two Biological Science undergraduate senior students coordinated by Prof. Rui Freitas (AANCHOR participant) has participated with national and international partners on the oceanographic, biochemical, and microplastics control survey in Cabo Verde onboard the hydro-oceanographic ship D. Carlos I. This campaign also included the launch of drift floats and other moored equipment for continuous environmental observations in the Cabo Verdean Island of São Vicente, specifically in the Flamengos bay.