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Top ecology journal Molecular Ecology highlights publications by members of DBio & CESAM

Molecular Ecology journal continues to be among the most influential journals in ecology and evolution, and published approximately 450 papers during 2014. The editors of Molecular Ecology write an editorial article in the beginning of each year noting the most relevant contributions that have been published. The present editorial (January 2015) highlights two papers that have been published by members of DBio & CESAM (Miguel Leal and Ricardo Calado). One of these works uses quantitative molecular methods to estimate ingestion and digestion of prey items by photosynthetic corals and anemones. Among the main findings of this investigation, the authors found that corals digest their prey much more slowly than previously believed, as they take up to 10 days to digest their prey, which somehow similar to the digestion time observed in terrestrial insects, particularly spiders. The other publication uses molecular methods to note, for the first time, that photosynthetic corals feed on phytoplankton. As symbiotic corals harbour microalgae (dinoflagellates) in their tissues, scientists thought these corals did not eat phytoplankton. The use of molecular tools has great potential to study trophic interactions, and has been one of the key research topics developed by Miguel Leal and Ricardo Calado in DBio & CESAM.

Leal, M. C., Ferrier‐Pagès, C., Calado, R., Thompson, M. E., Frischer, M. E., & Nejstgaard, J. C. (2014). Coral feeding on microalgae assessed with molecular trophic markers. Molecular ecology 23:3870-3876
Leal, M. C., Nejstgaard, J. C., Calado, R., Thompson, M. E., & Frischer, M. E. (2014). Molecular assessment of heterotrophy and prey digestion in zooxanthellate cnidarians. Molecular ecology 23:3838-3848

Project ClimAdaPT.Local

Researchers of CESAM/UA paticipate in national project that will develop Municipal Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation – Project ClimAdaPT.Local

CESAM researchers and teachers from the Departamento de Ambinte e Ordenamento (DAO) are part of the National Project Local Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Change, financed by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (EEAFM/EEA grants), and the Carbon Fund during 18 months.

The project, in which the University of Aveiro is partner through the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), was selected for funding under the Program AdaPT. The project’s national coordinator is Professor Filipe Duarte Santos, PhD, from Fundação Faculdade de Ciências of the University of Lisbon (FCUL/CCIAM).

The project ClimAdaPT.Local aims at supporting the development and incorporation of climate change adaptation at the municipal level, through the establishment of 23 Municipal Adaptation Strategies and training of technicians from the local authorities.

The partnership is formed by CCIAM consortium (FCUL), CEDRU, WE CONSULTANTS, ICS (UL), Quercus, FCT-UNL, CESAM (AU), CIBIO, cCHANGE and the municipalities of Cascais, Sintra and Almada. Besides, ClimAdaPT.Local is associated with 26 municipalities covering all Intermunicipal Communities and Metropolitan Areas of Portugal’s mainland and the two Autonomous Regions.

The coordination of CESAM research team will be in charge of Professor Fatima Lopes Alves, PhD., teacher at DAO and integrated member of CESAM. The UA team also includes three national experts in the areas of Energy and Environment - Prof. Dr. Carlos Borrego (DAO); Coastal zones - Prof. Dr. Carlos D. Coelho (DECivil) and Water Resources - João Pedro Nunes (CESAM).

More information at: http://www.apambiente.pt/index.php?ref=x171

CESAM – UA students receive international award

Prizes were awarded by International Humic Substances Society (IHSS) and the competition intended to reward young graduate students doing their PhD thesis

Joana Leal presented her work "Does light-screening by Humic Substances completely explain their retardation effect on contaminants photo-degradation?"; João T.V. Matos presented a comunication entitkled “Natural organic matter in urban atmospheric aerosols: profiling the water soluble components using comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography".

CESAM helps to unravel the collapse of the Larsen-B Ice Shelf in Antarctica

The warm ocean currents are not the responsabile for the collapse of floating ice shelves. In fact, the warming of ice surface and its melting are that factor that makes water to infiltrate into the massive ice structure, destabilizing it to the final collapse. This conclusion was obtained by an international team of researchers from the United States, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Canada and the UK, who have brought to the light of day a new view on the dynamics of the Antarctic ice floating platforms. 
This study, which included the participation of researchers from CESAM, was published this month in Science and gives as an example the catastrophic disintegration in 2002 of the Larsen B ice shelf floating off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, an event that proved the team to be associated with changes in air temperature and consequent melting ice.
More details:

CESAM researcher contributes to the jaguars conservation in Brazil

How is the jaguar Panthera onca perceived by local communities along the Paraguai River in the Brazilian Pantanal?

Rapid habitat conversion, hunting as a retaliatory response to livestock depredation and, potentially, lack of knowledge regarding the species’ ecological role are the main factors influencing conservation of the Near Threatened jaguar Panthera onca in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil. The CESAM study highlights the environmental education programmes and ecotourism as the better strategies to reduce livestock losses and to minimize the perception that jaguars are dangerous in all situations.
More details: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....

CESAM team found heavy metals in Porto urban gardens and pastures

The levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in urban gardens soils and pastures situated in the Porto area exceed the maximums set by the European Union for the presence in agricultural areas of heavy and potentially toxic metals. The findings, which are extensible to urban gardens of the rest of the national territory, belong to a team of researchers from the University of Aveiro & CESAM that indicate the need for assessment of soil quality and risk to public health from ingestion of the products concerned.
News published in the various media:

Bioatlas project highlighted in the COMPETE web page

The project Bioatlas aims to be a digital platform for decision support, which innovatively combines the technology of geographic information with scientific research. The project brings together a set of information and technical-scientific knowledge about biomass energy, not available in an integrated and organized way, representing an investment with medium and long-term impacts on energy efficiency.
The project, supported by the COMPETE programme under the Collective Actions, has an eligible investment of 477000 euros and involves as partners the Inteli (promoter), the ENERGYIN - Pole of competitiveness and energy technology, the University of Aveiro (throught the CESAM ) and AREANATejo.

project web page: http://www.bioatlas.pt/

CESAM & DBio works distinguished in Spain

The University of Aveiro received awards for best oral presentation, best poster and 2nd best student poster at the XVII Congress of the Iberian Association of Limnology held in Santander, Spain, 6-11 of July. The conference was focused in the theme 'Understanding the resilience of aquatic ecosystems: a basis for a sustainable future'.
More details: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....

UVS validates innovative technique able to estimate metabolite concentrations of stress hormones in fecal matter

A study from the Wildlife Unit (UVS) of the Department of Biology & CESAM of the University of Aveiro has validated, for the first time, the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in the assessment of concentrations of metabolites of stress hormones in fecal matter, using deer feces as a model.
The study, recently published in “Ecological Indicators” journal opens a new field of application for NIRS technology and has important implications for the monitoring of wildlife as it improves the efficiency and reduces the time and cost of conventional analytical techniques.
More details: http://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/deta.....&lg=en

CESAM researcher, Isabel Henriques, appointed as national representative of the COST action 'New and emerging challenges and opportunities in wastewater reuse (NEREUS)'

Wastewater reuse is currently considered globally as the most critical element of sustainable water management. Water scarcity, foreseen to aggravate, pushes for maximum utilization of non-conventional water. Although reuse is accompanied by a number of benefits, several potential drawbacks still puzzle scientists. The applied treatments fail to completely remove microcontaminants, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and/or their genes (ARB&Gs). Knowledge on the actual effects of reuse with regard to these aspects is currently not consolidated. This Action will answer critical questions through a European multidisciplinary network, structured in interactive Working Groups (WGs), to achieve: a) identification of the microbiome and mobile antibiotic resistome in treated wastewater, b) assessment of the potential for uptake/transmission of microcontaminants and ARB&Gs in crops, c) determination of effect-based bioassays required for wastewater reuse, d) identification of efficient/economically viable technologies able to meet the current challenges and, e) development of a relevant risk assessment and policy framework. The Action will establish criteria on technologies/assessment methods for wastewater treatment and suggest new effluent quality criteria to overcome current barriers and safeguard the reuse practice. The Action will have a major impact on the enhancement of sustainable wastewater reuse in light of current challenges at technological, economical and societal level.
More details about this COST action: http://www.cost.eu/domains_act.....ons/ES1403