Protecting the Coastal Biodiversity in the Laginha Coral Cove. 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 briefly introduce the initiatives carried out by Professor Guilherme Mascarenhas and other colleagues from the Institute of Engineering and Marine Sciences (ISECMAR) of the Atlantic Technical University (UTA) in the Laginha Coral Cove, an urban coastal hotspot of marine biodiversity. The Laginha Coral Cove is located on the island of São Vicente, Cabo Verde, and these initiatives aim to protect its biodiversity and natural heritage as an essential tool to promote marine conservation.
The main findings and activities of Prof. Guilherme Mascarenhas and other ISECMAR collaborators, including professors, students, and technicians, have been summarized in a book titled “Especies Marinhas da Enseada d´Coral, Laginha, São Vicente, Cabo Verde.”
The mentioned book presents local images of four hundred and twenty-one (421) of the more than five hundred (500) species that have already been identified so far in the Laginha Coral Cove. Among others, the already identified species include fifteen (15) between the twenty-two (22) species of endemic fishes from Cabo Verde, ten (10) species of corals, the green turtle, which is at risk of extinction, and endemic species from the Laginha Coral Cove such as the shrimp Typton anaramosae, recently described, and the gastropod cone Africonus lugubris, which is also in critical risk of extinction, since only shells have been found in the last decades.
The book is organized into various chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different species, including cnidarians, fish, echinoderms, turtles, molluscs, crustaceans, worms, sponges, ctenophores, tunicates, bryozoans, and algae.
The main objective of the book is to create awareness among the authorities and the general population of Cabo Verde for the urgent need to protect the Laginha Coral Cove, which is in rapid degradation, as well as promote the establishment of the cove as a “scientific interest zone of Cabo Verde” according to the Cape-Verdean law for the protected areas.
The activities carried out by the ISECMAR members have also included designing and implementing an underwater trail financed by the local NGO Biosfera I. This underwater trail was completed in August 2021, in partnership with the Cape-Verdean Sea Institute, and is currently being used in the free guided tours to the Laginha Coral Cove that happens during the weekends, providing the local population, tourists, and national and foreign visitors with a tool for environmental education, scientific dissemination, enhancement of the marine ecosystem awareness, and recreation.
The online version of the book is available here: http://www.scvz.org/laginha/EspeciesMarinhasEnseada_22_web.pdf
The official video is available here: https://www.facebook.com/252596192067050/videos/702691157808352
The Underwater Trail web page is: https://www.facebook.com/TrilhaECLaginha
The printed version of the book was presented and made publicly and freely available on February 25, 2022.