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2020-05-28

Awarded project to change our perception on the Atlantic

The Luso-American Foundation for Development (FLAD) announced that the winner of the 1st edition of the FLAD Science Award Atlantic is Rui Seabra, a researcher from CIBIO-InBIO at the University of Porto (Portugal). The jury believes that the project “will change our global perception of the Atlantic”. Rui Seabra will receive 300 thousand euros of funding in three years, to study the impact of climate change on coastal biodiversity in the North Atlantic.

In a process with excellent applications, which according to the jury reveal the quality of Portuguese researchers, the choice fell on the project CCTBON - North Atlantic Coupled Coastal Temperature and Biodiversity Observation Network, by Rui Seabra.

The project involves the installation of more than 2000 sensors on 85 rocky beaches across the North Atlantic - from Guinea-Bissau to Norway and from Ecuador to the Arctic, with Mainland Portugal and the Azores, which take on a special prominence. A network for collecting sea temperature and biodiversity data will, therefore, be set up, which will be the largest of its kind in the world.

“In addition to recognizing the quality of the scientific activity of the researcher Rui Seabra, the award will improve knowledge about the influence of climate change on the ecosystems of coastal tidal zones. And, not least, the prize will allow Portugal to lead the collaboration between a significant number of researchers who, in different Atlantic regions (continental and island), develop works in favour of oceanic sustainability ”. - Elsa Henriques, FLAD administrator.

The technology developed will allow access to data collected by the sensor network in a simple way, using contactless technology. The sensors will have a service life of more than 10 years, a substantial innovation compared to the existing technology.

“It is a project that looks at coastal areas along the entire North Atlantic, which are areas particularly affected by climate change, from a basin perspective. It is ambitious, it is interesting, it is demanding, and it is from the organizational point of view very complex to do. But we believe that it will be one of the initiatives that will change our global perception of the Atlantic ”. - Miguel Miranda, member of the jury, Full Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and president of IPMA.

These sensors will measure the water temperature off the coast of the North Atlantic with a degree of precision that satellite technology currently lacks, allowing researchers to understand the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity.

“The results of the project will be important to define strategies to preserve the fauna and flora in this region. I would like to leave a word of appreciation to all the other candidates who presented excellent proposals, which in fact demonstrates the high quality of scientific research that is done by young Portuguese researchers. ” - Pedro Caície, member of the jury and Full Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.

The project will be developed in partnership with researchers Brian Helmuth, from Northeastern University in Boston, David S. Wethey from the University of South Carolina and Enrique Montes, from the University of South Florida.

Watch Rui's message after receiving the award.

Marine Research Infrastructures and the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Community

One of the objectives of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is the construction of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Community. Through the promotion of new models of cooperation around the whole Atlantic Ocean basin, this massive coordinated and partnership-based endeavour will encourage joint activities, increment operational efficiency within marine research, expand our common understanding and scientific knowledge on the Atlantic, and leverage capacity development through scientific exchange. One of its key thematic areas is the marine research infrastructures.

Research infrastructures are facilities that provide resources and services for research communities to conduct research and foster innovation. Facilities for ocean science such as research vessels, underwater vehicles and offshore platforms, are generally particularly costly and require heavy operation to be deployed and operated. Increasing operational efficiencies by optimising the appropriate use and sharing of research infrastructures is one of the objectives of the signatories of the Belém Statement. An emblematic example of “shared-use” of marine research infrastructures is the organisation of joint scientific cruises.

In order to support this objective, AANChOR created a stakeholders’ platform dedicated to the convergence and alignment of research infrastructures (RI). Concretely, this expert group will launch activities to support the development of a transatlantic network of RI initiatives and promote the shared use of infrastructures in the Atlantic.

Learn more here.