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RICH DEEP-SEA FAUNA ON POLYMETALLIC NODULES TARGETED FOR MINING

2/06/2016

By highlighting the importance of nodules for the deep-sea biodiversity, scientists involved in the JPI Oceans pilot action on the ecological aspects of deep-sea mining call for criteria for designating preservation zones to be based on robust scientific knowledge.

An international group of researchers from Germany (Senckenberg am Meer), Belgium (Ghent University), France (Ifremer), and Portugal (MARE/IMAR-Azores and CESAM/University of Aveiro) has published their results  from a recent research campaign (SO-239, March-April 2015) onboard the new German research vessel SONNE in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ, Central Eastern Pacific) in Nature, demonstrating that polymetallic nodule fields are hotspots of abundance and diversity for a highly vulnerable abyssal fauna.

The results of this study underlie the need for careful considerations of strategies for biodiversity conservation. Especially the CCZ area is recently of growing interest for industry because of the high concentration of polymetallic nodules present at abyssal depths. However being one of the remotest areas on earth, very little is known on its biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

The paper shows that the fauna associated with polymetallic nodules is more abundant and diverse than in areas without or only low nodule numbers, a pattern which is consistent across the four areas licensed for nodule exploration which have been visited during SO239. They also provided, for the first time, ecological data from one Area of Particular Environmental Interest (APEI, Number 3) established by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to be safeguarded from mining. Finally, they also report on the high impact and lack of recovery of fauna on 2 trawling tracks and experimental mining simulations up to 37 years old, suggesting that mining impacts may be long-lasting or even permanent. Based on these observations, the researchers argue that preservation zones within mining areas should be established in areas rich in nodules. 

More information:
Nature article
Project website

UA mostra competências na área do mar na Oceans Business Week

6/06/2016

A Univesidade de Aveiro (UA) esteve presente na componente expositiva Oceans Business Week que decorreu no Centro de Congressos de Lisboa, de 2 a 4 de junho, dando conta das suas competências ao nível da investigação e desenvolvimento na área do mar e da economia do Mar. Tratou-se de um evento organizado pela Fundação AIP em parceria com o Ministério do Mar e com o alto patrocínio do Presidente da República.

O stand UA deu evidência à estruturas institucionais da UA que atuam nesse âmbito: Aveiro Institute for Marine Science and Technology (AIMARE), Plataforma Tecnológia do Mar, ECOMARE e Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM) - laboratório associado - e suas valências.



Em exposição estiveram alguns exemplares resultantes da investigação da UA no mar profundo, como exemplos do vasto campo de abrangência da UA ao nível do mar.

Mais informação em: https://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/detail.asp?c=46587


Food Contaminants and Human Health - publicação de livro com participação de membros do CESAM

15/05/2016

As a result from ICFC2015 International Conference on Food Contaminants: challenges in chemical mixtures, the book “Food Contaminants and Human Health – challenges in chemical mixtures” is now available including some extended abstracts written by some invited speakers and also the abstracts presented at the conference.

This Conference was organized by Paula Alvito and Ricardo Assunção, CESAM members from INSA, and Susana Loureiro (department of biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro) was one of the invited speakers, along with the participation of several other CESAM members, whose contributions are also available in this book.

The book can be assessed through the repository of the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge at http://repositorio.insa.pt//handle/10400.18/3214.




LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL SOIL BIODIVERSITY ATLAS WITH UA CONTRIBUTIONS

05/05/2016

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, Researcher from CESAM/DBIO, gives training in Namibia in the Deep Sea Biology area

05/05/2016

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, CESAM/DBIO Researcher, participated in a meeting of the European Chemicals Agency

05/05/2016

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.....

Research work from CESAM/DBio team published in the journal "Fish and Fisheries"

5/05/2015

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: UA Researcher of the month

22/04/2016

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

Contact:
Dr. Mónica Amorim
Department of Biology & CESAM
Universidade de Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

Sunlight destroys antibiotic in marine aquaculture waters - Research from Department of Chemistry and CESAM

21/04/2016

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


 

Ecosystem services provided by wetlands: Anthropogenic impacts and Environmental chemistry

20/04/2016

Advanced Workshop

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)

Lecture topics
• 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