The UA spin-off DNA TRUSTAG was awarded with the Seal of Excellence by the European Commission within the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (SME instrument). The seal certifies the innovative character and commercialization potential of the technology developed by the CESAM researchers Newton Gomes and Francisco Coelho, in the Laboratory for Molecular Studies of Marine Environments (LEMAM). The technological platform of DNA TRUSTAG enables cost-effective and scalable production of unique DNA tags (impossible to forge), which generate reading signals similar to a barcoded label. The DNA tags are then used to mark and authenticate raw materials and a range of products directly in the production line. DNA TRUSTAG company was founded in January 2016 with the objective to help European and worldwide knowledge-based companies, to protect their intellectual property and fight against the attractiveness of a 'look-alike product' with a cheap price.
Rita Bicho was awarded the Best Poster Award in Sciences for the poster:
Bicho, RC, Gonçalves, M., Amorim, MJB (2016) Development of novel tools for environmental health assessment - fast screening for long term effects.
presented at the Research Day 2016, held at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, June 15, 2016.
Rita is a PhD student at CESAM, and has been developing research in the area environmental health assessment in the Stress Biology Group (Ecotoxicogenomics Lab). She has recently published the work presented, e.g. Bicho R.C., Santos F.C.F., Goncalves M.F.M., Soares A.M.V.M., Amorim M.J.B. (2015) Enchytraeid Reproduction Test(PLUS): hatching, growth and full life cycle test-an optional multi-endpoint test with Enchytraeus crypticus. Ecotoxicology. 24, 5, 1053-1063.
The Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas is an effort by the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission to raise awareness about the importance of soil biodiversity. It comprises 180 pages with amazing photos, maps, charts, statistics, and shared information that scientists, educators, policy makers, and non-specialists alike can use as a toolkit for knowing and understanding soil biodiversity globally. Key messages of the Atlas are:
• Soil biodiversity is extremely diverse in shapes, colours, sizes and functions.
• Soil biodiversity supports many services essential to human beings: plant growth, water and climate regulation, and disease control, among others.
• Soil biodiversity is increasingly under threat due to several pressures acting on soils.
• Interventions to reduce the impact of threats to soil biodiversity are available and should be widely adopted.
• Policies to protect and value soil biodiversity are still at an early stage and need to be further developed.
Out of the 94 authors from across the world, four are CESAM researchers at the UA. Ana Catarina Bastos and Susana Loureiro from the applied Ecology and Ecotoxicology R&D group (applEE) in the Biology Department, contributed with expertise on environmental biotechnology, including biomonitoring and bioremediation, as provisioning services of soil biodiversity. Frank Verheijen and Jacob Keizer from the Earth Surface Processes (ESP) lab in the Department of Environment & Planning, contributed with expertise about wildfire as a threat to soil biodiversity, and fire management as a way of benefiting soil biodiversity.
Ana Hilário, UA Biologist, was in Namibia to participate in the organization of a workshop training and knowledge transfer in the area of Deep Sea Biology, organized by Indeep, the international organization that emerged as a result of the "Census of Marine Life" aiming to share scientific knowledge between countries, particularly developing countries.
The motivation for this workshop arose from the increasing pressure of mining companies to extract deep sea resources, which will most likely start to happen in the waters of African developing countries and Oceania. "The extraction of minerals from the deep sea is highly attractive to these countries for obvious economic reasons, but it may have excessive environmental costs if done in a not sustainable way," explains Ana Hilário. In many cases, "developing countries do not have the human resources with the necessary training to independently establish commitments between development and sustainability based on economic, social, cultural and ecological realities and priorities of each country."
More information: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....mp;c=46271
Monica Amorim, researcher from CESAM/DBIO was invited to participate in the "Topical Scientific Workshop on New Approach Methodologies in Regulatory Science" held in ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) on 19 and 20 April in Helsinki, with industry, science and regulators participants.
The researcher develops its work in the field of toxicogenomics, optimizing tools and results for risk assessment that allow the evaluation of chemical effects on the organisms genes, i.e., at the level of the mechanisms that precede apical effects. During this workshop it was discussed, for example, how this information can be integrate to be used use in risk assessment and chemicals legislation.
ECHA has promoted the discussion of various topics under the (eco)toxicology scope, one of the strong research areas done in the Department of Biology, UA. In October 2015, the Researcher also participated in the "ECHA / EFSA Scientific Topical Workshop on Soil Risk Assessment" that promises to emphasize the "soil" on the European legislation agenda.
More details in: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....
The work “Marine ornamental fish imports in the European Union: an economic perspective" coordinator by the CESAM/DBio Researcher Ricardo Calado, was recently published in the journal “Fish and Fisheries" (IF: 8.258) currently in the 1st position of 52 in the scientific field of JCR "Fisheries".
This work intended to quantify, for the first time, the role of the import of ornamental marine fish for aquariums in the EU (Nemos, Dorys and company), as well as identify the main exporting and importing countries. This work intended to demonstrate that the EU, as an importer of these organisms, play a key role in maintaining this industry, which allows the livelihoods of many impoverished families in the Indo-Pacific area, having also additional responsibilities in promoting a sustainable industry that does not contribute to reefs destruction through the use of destructive fishing techniques such as fishing with cyanide.
Mónica Amorim graduated in Biology (1997, Univ. Coimbra), MsC in Ecology (2000), and a PhD in Biology (2004, Univ. Aveiro, split grant between Portugal and Germany). During 2005-6 she worked partly in Belgium and in Portugal, since then as researcher in CESAM, UA.
She has established a new international recognised high profile area – ecotoxicogenomics (less than 10 labs in the world) forming her own group, presently comprised by 9 researchers (6 PhD and 3 Post-Docs, all fully funded by FCT or EU, plus MsC and degree students). She already completed the supervision of 4 PhDs, 2 Post-Doc, 5 MsCs and several degree students.
Major scientific achievements include high throughput tools based on the transcriptome assembly for soil ecotoxicology model species (Enchytraeus crypticus) i.e. microarray platform [such tools are only available for 2 other soil and 3 aquatic ecotox species]. No such genomic tools were available for soil species, hence this represents a major step forward and with results in terms of understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms to stress. Other molecular tools were also developed e.g. cellular energy allocation, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, oxidative stress biomarkers. These are crucial tools to link responses at various levels of organization towards a systems biology approach.
Besides the science activities she has been active in general international promotion of environmental sciences. She was SETAC Europe president (2014-15), the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry is probably the largest worldwide ecotoxicology society (>6000 members); chaired the SETAC Soil Advisory Group (2005-12); coordinates the Post-Graduation course "Practical approach to ecotoxicogenomics" since 2007-14; has been invited to evaluate grants (e.g. from FCT) and project proposals.
More details in: http://www.ua.pt/research/page/21170
Dr. Mónica Amorim
Department of Biology & CESAM
Universidade de Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
It is called oxytetracycline (OTC) and is one of the antibiotics used in aquaculture to combat a wide variety of infections in fish. If until now the respective removal is made using the diffusion of ozone in the water - an expensive method, inefficient and hazardous compounds generator to health when it comes to saltwater - a team of researchers from UA found that, alternatively, the antibiotic can be effectively destroyed with a simple and free resource: sunlight.
The use of antibiotics in national aquaculture has been decreasing in recent years (OTC is one of the few antibiotics authorized in the country for use in aquaculture), and producers are increasingly opting for preventive measures such as vaccination. However, throughout the world there are countries where the use of antibiotics is not as upper and controlled, which, according to the researchers, "increases the potential application of the method" proposed by UA.
The work was conducted by PhD student Joanna Leal, under the supervision of Valdemar Esteves and Eduarda Santos, and published in the latest issue of Environmental Pollution, a publication of Elsevier which is a world reference in the field of chemistry applied.
More information: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....mp;c=46118
May 2-6, 2016
This one‐week post‐graduate workshop aims to provide knowledge on the environmental biogeochemical processes supporting the Ecosystem Services (ES) provided by wetlands. Moreover, emphasis will be put on ES assessment endpoints for Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) and also on wetlands management and restoration. The course is addressed to PhD students with a background in Biology, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Engineering or Ecology.
Coordinator: Ana I. Lillebø (DBio & CESAM)
• Types of wetlands, ES & Human well‐being
• Biogeochemical processes supporting wetland ES
• ES assessment endpoints for Ecological Risk Assessment
• Multiple stressors affecting wetlands ES
• Wetlands management and restoration
João Carvalho, PhD student at Wildlife Unit of the Department of Biology and CESAM, in collaboration with a group of researchers from the University of Porto (UP), published in the latest issue of the prestigious journal Nature one article that exposes the inertia of the European Union face with alien species and alert to the need for cross-border cooperation in the control of wasp-Asian.
"The number of alien species identified in the European territory exceeds currently the thousands," says João Carvalho. One of the most publicized cases is the wasp-Asian (Vespa velutina nigrithorax). "This species currently occupies a significant area of the Mediterranean Basin, a recognized biodiversity hotspot. Its potential ecological impacts are already recognized by the scientific community. In areas where beekeeping is assumed as an important source of income, the economic impacts of the Asian wasp may be especially severe, "says the researcher.
The authors stress the importance of environmental awareness as a tool for conservation of other pollinating insects. The widespread fear of beekeepers and the consequent indiscriminate use of some selective traps are factors that can determine the decline of many other species of pollinators.
The article can be found via the link: http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....2177b.html
More information: https://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/detail.asp?c=46087