|RemediGrass - Seagrass beds as green and blue infrastructures for ecosystem restoration|
João Pedro Martins Coelho
Programme - Programa Operacional da Competitividade e Internacionalização (02/SAICT/2017)
Execution dates - 2018-12-13 - 2022-12-12 (48 Months)
Funding Entity - FEDER - Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional; FNR e OE
Funding for CESAM - 141105 €
Total Funding - 239654 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro
Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR)
"With the implementation of WFD, contemporary trace element contamination issues in aquatic systems will occur through internal loading from sediment contaminant sinks. Such events result in loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity, and may implicate rehabilitation. Therefore, the development of rehabilitation strategies to remediate these historically contaminated areas is a challenge to the scientific community.
The main aim of this project will be the use of seagrass bed re-colonization as a green and blue infrastructure (GBI), acting as a remediation tool in historically contaminated estuarine ecosystems. This is in line with Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which states that ""By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems"".
The innovation of this project will consist of the community-based/holistic approach including fauna and flora, which will evaluate the response of the ecosystem as a whole. Specific objectives encompass: a) the evaluation of seagrass optimal growth conditions, physiological response and resistance to transplantation conditions; b) a pilot seagrass re-colonization experiment in a historically contaminated area of a temperate coastal lagoon; c) the evaluation of the effect of seagrass cover in contaminant geochemistry, metal and nutrient sequestration (Blue Carbon sink); d) the evaluation of the effects of seagrass presence on biodiversity, food web structure and reduction of contaminant biomagnification; f) the final goal is to evaluate seagrass ecosystems as candidate GBI, through the development of scenarios on long-term effects of the intervention on ecosystem resilience, ecosystem services, rehabilitation cost and funding options (cost-profit budget).
Expected results from the re-colonization of impacted areas with seagrasses will encompass the enhancement of natural attenuation, accelerating the recovery of degraded areas, while increasing biodiversity and ecosystem services. Contaminant bioavailability and trophic transfer is also expected to decrease following recovery measures,in line with the goals of the National Strategy for Smart Specialization (Water and Environment, Economy of the Sea and Tourism). The expected outcome of the project is the development of a ""methodological toolbox"" (potential site evaluation, methodologies, contingency actions, cost) for the recovery of historically contaminated estuarine ecosystems by re-introducing autochthonous seagrass meadows, eligible to be used worldwide."