The LIFE IP INTEMARES project, coordinated by the Fundación Biodiversidad, with the participation of researchers from Campus Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), aims to achieve a network of efficiently managed and innovative Natura 2000 marine spaces, with the active participation of relevant sectors and using research as basic decision-making tools.
During the meeting of partners, which took place at the Oceanogràfic headquarters in Valencia, a progress report was presented to the European Commission to continue working on effective management of the marine Natura 2000 Network.
After the meeting, a tour of the facilities of the Fundación Oceanogràfic’s Area for the Recovery and Conservation of Marine Fauna (ARCA) was carried out to find out about the actions related to sea turtles, such as their marking and monitoring, carried out in the project, as well as the work of this center in its recovery.
Subsequently at Campus Gandia, the project partners had the opportunity to receive more information on the use and development of new technologies for monitoring marine biodiversity and for monitoring the impact generated by underwater noise.
In sheds 4 and 5 of the port of Gandia, where the Campus has university facilities dedicated to marine research, they were able to take a closer look at the prototypes being developed.
According to Víctor Espinosa, a researcher at Campus Gandia, “the UPV is at the forefront of innovation applied to new technologies for monitoring and tracking the marine environment, and having facilities of this type are essential for the development and validation of new prototypes.”
Campus Gandia is working on the joint development of prototypes for three pilot projects.
The first pilot project consists of the design, manufacture and testing of the elements of a marine observation network based on multi-parameter platforms. According to Víctor Espinosa “this marine observation network based on sensor platforms will allow us to study the oceanographic dynamics of the seabed, current fields, suspended matter, nutrients, underwater noise, … In short, we are working on the development and integration of low-cost sensors that allow long-term monitoring of different aspects of the marine environment, as well as the presence of protected species.”
In the second pilot project, hybrid autonomous underwater vehicles are being developed for monitoring habitats and recovering anchorage information. Javier Busquets , a Campus Gandia researcher, is working on the development of these vehicles. According to him, “these unmanned vehicles are still in the development phase, but have great potential for monitoring the marine environment and its joint integration with multiparameter platforms that they can exchange information with in real time.”
The third pilot project is focused on satellite monitoring and tracking of marine species using electronic tags. The researchers, Eduardo Belda and José Pelegrí , explained the details of the development of these marks to the INTEMARES partners, specifically in regards to loggerhead sea turtles, in order to establish strategies for their protection and learn about the degree of connectivity between the different protected areas of the Natura 2000 Network.
Lastly, the project partners had the opportunity to visit the marine space of La Marina Alta, an area included in the Natura Network, both for the importance of its marine species and habitats and for its importance for seabirds, for which it is both Site of Community Importance (SIC) and Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA). In this space a Demonstrative and innovative governance project has been initiated in this space under the umbrella of the LIFE INTEMARES project.
The Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge coordinates the LIFE INTEMARES project. The ministry itself participates as partners, through the General Directorate of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification; the Junta de Andalucía, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, as well as the Environment and Water Agency; the Spanish Institute of Oceanography; AZTI; the University of Alicante; the Universitat Politècnica de València the Spanish Fisheries Confederation, SEO/BirdLife and WWF Spain. It relies on the backing of the LIFE Program of the European Union.
Photographs by the Fundación Biodiversidad-LIFE INTEMARES and Virginia Garófano.
Researcher in the LIFE INTEMARES project