APP-AMBIENTAL: a novel tool designed by the ULPGC to record environmental impacts

APP-Ambiental is a web application developed to assess the magnitude of possible environmental impacts arising from tourist activity in areas of high environmental value and vulnerable. Developed by the Research Group on Technologies, Management and Environmental Biogeochemistry of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It allows to record and assess the environmental impacts of four study areas in Macaronesia, among which is La Marciega, in the Gran canarian municipality of La Aldea de San Nicolás.  

Visit app-ambiental.org and participate!

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The research work that has allowed the development of this tool is part of the ECOTOUR Project, of the Interreg MAC Program 2014-2020, in which the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria participates together with other Canarian entities such as the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the City Council of La Aldea de San Nicolás, and the Technological Center of Marine Sciences (CETECIMA). The aim of this project is to enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the coastal and protected areas in the Canary Islands, Azores, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal, through the promotion of ecotourism activities. Precisely from the enhancement of areas of high environmental value for their use as ecotourism claims arose the need to develop a tool that would allow the environmental impacts that tourism activity itself entails on these delicate areas to be evaluated.

The application, which is available free of charge to everyone at app-ambiental.org, makes it possible to record and quantify the environmental damage identified in an area, according to criteria that respond, albeit with the subjectivity of the user, to an environmental impact matrix validated in the work of the research group in this project.

As soon as you start, the application allows you to select the user profile, distinguishing between “ecotourist”, “environmental specialist” or “local”. In this way, it is intended to extend the field of action of the application, covering the observations of other types of profiles, beyond the visitors, which can enrich the environmental assessment of the place. The information introduced in the application is collected anonymously and used in the framework of the ECOTOUR Project to elaborate proposals for the improvement of the management of these spaces, in order to maintain a good environmental status that allows the development of ecotourism activities while safeguarding the environmental values that support them.

APP-Ambiental
Explanatory infographic on how to make registrations in APP-Ambiental

Related news on the website of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
https://www.ulpgc.es/noticia/investigadores-ulpgc-desarrollan-aplicacion-web-registro-impactos-ambientales

New publication: a microplastic sampling method for opportunity vessels

Broad scale sampling methods for microplastic monitoring in the open ocean waters remain a challenge in oceanography, as a large number of samples is required to understand the distribution, abundance and fate of these particles in the environment.

As a result of the research work carried out by Ph.D. student Tania Montoto within the Research Group on Technologies, Management and Environmental Biogeochemistry, with important collaborations such as the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands, a scientific article has been published in the journal PLOS ONE, which is already available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0232744

CapturaPantalla Artículo PLOS ONE

Since 2017, the maintenance missions of the ESTOC Oceanic Station (European Oceanic Time Series Station) operated by PLOCAN, as well as the sampling campaigns carried out both in ESTOC and in the coastal waters Test Site, have served as an opportunity platform for the systematic determination of microplastics in subsurface waters.

The article presents a highly versatile and precise microplastic sampling method, capable of recovering particles of down to 50 μm (the diameter of a human hair!) without interfering with navigation. Preliminary data reveals the presence of these particles in all the stations and transects sampled, with the fibers (64.42%) predominating over the fragments (35.58%), with concentration values ​​within the ranges reported for other areas of the Atlantic.

Although more trials in the region will be necessary to increase the spatial and temporal coverage of the measurements and to identify the possible influence of environmental factors on the concentrations and trends of microplastics in the Canary Islands region, this work undoubtedly contributes in an emerging study area, helping to increase the monitoring of the state of the quality of marine waters and helping to implement and monitor the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Coffee with science at the Elder Museum

Café Con Ciencia en el Museo Elder

The “Coffee with Science” is an event organized by the ULPGC Sustainability Office, the Government of the Canary Islands and the Elder Museum as part of the activities of the UniPlaNet Project for awareness-raising in education and environmental sustainability.

The first of these “coffees” was held last Friday, January 24th at the Elder Museum, where researchers from the TGBA Research Group participated hosting three debate tables on issues about air quality, risks of pollution related to ballast waters and the problems associated with plastic mismanagement. Again this week, on Friday 31st, a new session is expected. This time it will be followed by a collective presentation of the conclusions reached.

The objective of the “Coffee with Science” is to bring to the public the research topics that are currently being developed by young scientists at the ULPGC, while collecting from the audience the main concerns and visions, sharing different views and reducing the gap between scientific knowledge and street-level knowledge.

Climate change, as a central and common theme at the various tables, addressed the multiple effects it can produce on oceanography, marine pollution, air quality, coastal transformation or preferences in the tourism sector.

Next Friday the debate, from 5 to 6 pm, will also be well accompanied with coffee and cakes. Next, the conclusions session will take place. Admission is free of charge upon registration on the Elder Museum website. Below are some images taken by the Elder Museum.
You can also be an active part, join us!

Café Con Ciencia en el Museo Elder
Café Con Ciencia en el Museo Elder
Café Con Ciencia en el Museo Elder
Café Con Ciencia en el Museo Elder