Celebrating Ocean’s Day at the Marine Sciences Faculty

The Faculty of Marine Sciences (FCM) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) joined the celebration of World Ocean’s Day, organizing the Informative Day: “For a Plastic Free Faculty” last Friday, June 7th.

Día de los Océanos

A number of associations and initiatives participated in the Informative Day sharing a common concern: the environmental threat posed by single-use plastics. As such, several actions and initiatives were presented with the aim of raising awareness and unveiling local alternatives for change.

The Microtrophic and MARCET projects, both developed by ULPGC research groups that work with on microplastic research, were also presented as part of the day. On the latter, the work carried out by the research group in Technologies, Management and Environmental Biogeochemistry was briefly explained, in collaboration with the Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA), and other entities in the Macaronesian Region, such as the Museu da Baleia and SailingLivingLab.

Photographs of Ethel Bartrán (“Vigilia to the Ocean”) and Carlos Reyes and Teo Lucas were exhibited in the entrance hall of the faculty. In addition, the children’s book “Si lo peces hablaran” by Sandra Santa Cruz, as well as the project “Conscious Diving”, from the Buceo Norte Diving Centre, were presented.

The documentary ‘Hondar 2050: Our Waste, Our Problem‘, an independent medium film of the director Cesare Maglioni on marine litter on the Basque coast was presented by the NGO Muévete por el Clima. After the screening, a series of brief “anti-plastic pollution” initiatives were presented, all of them based in the Canary Islands. The action through activism was presented by the NGO Ecologistas en Acción, and some alternatives to single-use plastic were proposed by Oceanográfica and Latitud Azul. Finally, plastic cleaning and recovery actions, were presented by the Canary Islands platforms Canarias Libre de Plásticos and Precious Plastic Canarias.

La Facultad de Ciencias del Mar celebró el viernes 7 de junio el Día Mundial de los Océanos

Thanks to the support of the Vicecouncil of the Environment of the Government of the Canary Islands and the University’s Sustainability Office, reusable bottles were delivered to everyone of the attendees, who enjoyed a vegan snack prepared with local and plastic-free products, by Vegamundo.

(*) More information and photographs are provided on the website of the Marine Sciences Faculty and its album on Flickr.

We revisited the training centre in San Roque to tackle the issue of microplastic pollution

On 28 May we revisited the students of San Roque participating, in a new session at the Municipal Centre for Trainment and Employment of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for the dissemination of the state of the art of the problem of marine debris, especially microplastics.

Jornada en PFAE San Roque
Moment of the day, in the Training Centre of San Roque, “chatting” on microplastics.

Microplastics are being studied in the doctoral thesis that develops Tania Montoto, belonging to the research group since 2015. She has also worked in organizations such as Ecologistas en Acción raising awareness of the environmental problem involved in the massive entry of plastics into the marine environment. As a result of the work in this organization, she published, as a co-author, a report in January 2017 conerning this environmental problem. The report gathers more than 300 scientific studies and is listed among the reference materials of the National Center for Environmental Education (CENEAM) in the webpage of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition.

Infographics on the impacts of micro and plastic in the biota extracted from the report “Marine wastes, plastics and microplastics: Origins, impacts and consequences of a global threat” (Rojo-Nieto, E. and Amountto-Martínez, T.; 2017)

From the point of view of the research, data of very recent and relevant studies was shown, and audiovisual materials were provided as tools to deepen in aspects such as the impacts of the microbeads present in certain cosmetic products. Thus, the talk began with a review of the origins, impacts and ubiquity of these synthetic particles in the environment, ending with a few alternatives and proposals that, as citizenship we can carry out to temper the situation.

The visit was also an opportunity to diseminate some of the projects that are developed from the research group, especially MARCET, within the framework of which we are developing some interesting research tasks related to abundance and distribution of microplastics in seawater of the region, as well as in the stomach contents of stranded cetaceans.

We repeat the calibration trials for the microplastic sampler onboard R/V Ángeles Alvariño

On the first days of december we repeated the microplastic sampler calibration test onboard the oceanographic vessel Ángeles Alvariño of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. We had the chance to go together with the colleagues from the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) in its biannual oceanographic campaign to the Station of Temporary Oceanic Series of the Canary Islands (ESTOC).

This collaboration allowed us once again to test the improvements of the microplastic sampling device for opportunity vessels that we are developing. Thus, one of the fundamental tests consisted of the repetition of the calibration, ensuring, among other parameters, what is the minimum sampling time and volume required for a validated performance.

The sampling prototype, which can be operated at the time that the oceanographic vessel navigates without interfering with its course or speed, was launched both on the routes from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to ESTOC (and back), and at several stations (at the oceanic point in ESTOC and three stations at the PLOCAN Test Site, near the coast).

The procedures followed were the same as in the previous campaign, in march of this year, so that we are expecting to get results of the comparison among the two calibration trials in order to analyze the propotipe performance.