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 and participate!

Voir la vidéo en français
Ver o vídeo em português

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, 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.

Explanatory infographic on how to make registrations in APP-Ambiental

Related news on the website of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:

We participated in the International Symposium on Marine Sciences with four communications

This year, despite the situation arising from the pandemia of COVID-19, the VII International Symposium of Marine Sciences (ISMS 2020), which takes place every two years, is maintained and reinvented, celebrating an on online mode. For the first time, the Workshop on Marine Litter (BAMAR2020) is held, which aims to answer the existing concern on this issue in the scientific field and other sectors of society and management. In addition to this, the event also brought together the Iberian Seminary of Marine Chemistry (SIQUIMAR 2020) and the Workshop on Marine Reserves (REMAR 2020)

From the research group Technologies, Management and Environmental Biogeochemistry (TGBA), we have participated with four presentations presented by three of our young researchers. Find out below!

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-09 at 10.08.43

Ballast water discharge profile at the Port of La Luz

Within the different activities of the @Blueports Project, the researcher Perrine Nantois studied the ballast water discharge profile of the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The profile has been carried out considering the different ports of origin and the type of ships docking the port during the years 2018 and 2019. This work will allow, among others:

  • Estimate in advance the amount of ballast water that would need to be treated (e.g. for sizing treatment plants)
  • Determine vessels with the greatest potential of introduction of non-indigenous species (volume and frequency), facilitating the orientation of environmental management measures

The preliminary results of the work show that the ships with the highest volume potentially unloaded have as their origin ports on the Northwest African coast.

Annotation 2020-06-26 132619

Persistent microplastics and organic pollutants in cetaceans

The PhD student Tania Montoto had the opportunity to advance, at the BAMAR Workshop, some results of her research on the presence and characterization of microplastics in the stomach content of stranded cetaceans in Macaronesia, as well as the presence and concentration of some persistent organic pollutants (such as phthalates, bisphenols and pesticides) in their muscle tissue.

Although it is worth mentioning that fibers were identified in all the samples analyzed, only four animals presented plastic fragments inside, these being, and in addition, smaller than 5mm. On the other hand, all the individuals, without exception, presented levels of phthalates, bisphenols and pesticides in tissue.

This work has been developed thanks to the collaboration of institutions such as the Museu da Baleia, or the University of Animal Health Institute, through the MARCET Project (MAC/1b/149).

PPT at the WS BAMAR in ISMS2020

Characterizing the chemistry of an anthropogenic station

The participation of the TGBA group in the SIQUIMAR event was made through a poster presentation, where Abisai Melián presented some preliminary results of the work that has been carried out within the framework of the ECOMARPORT project (MAC/1.1.B/081), whose objective is the assessment of air quality in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by identifying the concentrations and sources of atmospheric particles in suspension.

This communication presented a comparison between the total metal content and soluble in particulate sprays at two sampling stations, one of anthropogenic influence located in the Port of Las Palmas, and another of rural type, located in Pico de la Gorra, where the TGBA research group has been sampling since the end of 1996.

The results show differences between the two seasons, with a greater presence of typically anthropogenic elements in the Port that control the solubility of metals. The presence of these elements, however, does not exceed the limit concentrations in accordance with RD102/2011.


Motivations and concerns of young researchers

Tania Montoto also presented an oral communication on behalf of OYSTER, a working group of young marine researchers from EuroMarine. In it, were presented the results of a survey conducted in 2018 on the most common motivations and concerns among the profiles of young predoctoral researchers, master’s students, contracted in project, etc., of different institutions and nationalities were released.

Among the upcoming activities of OYSTER, it is worth highlighting the participation in the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), the launch of a new survey – this time on family reconciliation and the advantages and disadvantages of mobility during this early scientific stage – as well as the start of a mentoring program, among other actions. To stay up-to-date with news, we recommend you their Twitter account: @EM_OYSTER

OYSTER PPT fronpage

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:

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