Havana, Thursday 19 de September de 2019 08:45 am

Cuba to develop new project on marine pollution assessment

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Cuba to develop new project on marine pollution assessmentHAVANA, Cuba, Aug 29 (ACN) A scientific representation of the Center for Environmental Studies of Cienfuegos (CEAC) will this Thursday in Sweden a meeting of several days to implement a new research project on the assessment of marine pollution.
The Master of Science Yusmila Helguera Pedraza, assistant researcher at the CEAC, represents Cuba in this 4-year plan, said Maikel Hernández Núñez, communicator of the institution and member of the Network of Nuclear Communicators (REDNUC).
The group of experts has been meeting since last Monday at the Sven Lovén Marine Infrastructure Center at the University of Gothenburg in Kristineberg, Sweden, to approve the implementation of the Coordinated Research Project called Evaluation of the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Shellfish: A Global Approach, explained Hernández Núñez.
He added that the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is promoting the initiative through standardized experimental guidance to test the effects of possible future acidification conditions on 26 species of shrimp, sea urchins, fish and mollusks over the eight-month period.
When the body of water absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2), released into the atmosphere by human activities, the chemistry of carbonates and the acidity of seawater are modified in a process known as acidification, say experts.
One of the focuses of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce the impact of acidity levels in the seas by promoting greater scientific cooperation among nations, due to their constant increase.
A growing number of studies indicate possible negative impacts on marine organisms, in particular calcifiers such as corals and molluscs, which are particularly vulnerable to changes in marine chemistry.
Cuba is a member of the Network for Research on Coastal-Marine Stressors in Latin America and the Caribbean (REMARCO), whose objective is to ensure that its results on pollution, ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms (HABs) provide scientific support for environmental decision-making.
Even though there is little information on this fact and its consequences on ecosystems in the national territory, the capacities developed make it possible to quantify the current degrees of acidity of the sea, as well as to reconstruct its historical indices, with the use of corals and stable isotopes, according to Hernández Núñez.
With IAEA support, a National and Regional Observatory was created in Cuba for this purpose, but it is necessary to quantify its magnitude in various areas of the island platform.
It is foreseeable that the project will generate a comparable baseline on the sensitivity of ocean acidification to key species of shellfish around the world.
Its members are expected to engage with the local fishing industry, aquaculture and the general public in order to raise awareness and inspire actions for adaptation and mitigation in their respective countries.
Sam Dupont, a marine biologist at the University of Gothenburg and host of the meeting in Sweden, said most project participants have already received basic and advanced training on how to study their biological impacts, based on a carefully designed capacity building strategy.
They are now ready to apply the knowledge they have acquired and work together on this coordinated research project to produce high-quality information that their respective nations need to address such a threat, he emphasized.

 

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