One of the main goals of the National Park is to contribute to the promotion of scientific research. To what extent is the Atlantic Islands National Park favoring innovation in the maritime sector?
Xunta de Galicia, through the Regional Ministry of Environment, Land and Infrastructure as part of the conservation of biodiversity and natural heritage works closely with renowned experts, in collaboration with the three Galician universities, seeking data and information that allows the dissemination of natural values linked to our territory, especially in those declared as protected. The Galician maritime and terrestrial national park, the only national park in Galicia and one of only two maritime terrestrial parks declared today within the statewide network, is the Galician area which accounts for a greater research effort.
Therefore, from the Directorate General for nature conservation we support research activity throughout the park, facilitating the work of researchers and providing them with all the available information.
Each year there is a regular call for research projects convened by the National Parks Autonomous Agency (OAPN), which funds research that provides useful knowledge for management and conservation. In exchange for this support and funding, researchers provide the results of their work and advise the Directorate General when planning and implementing various actions. Moreover, research is subject to a licensing system which ensures that its impact is not detrimental to the environment.
Among the projects related to the marine environment we find:
|Title||Main Researcher||Amount Granted|
|Ancient changes in the ecosystems of insular National Parks: disturbances, resilience and trends of marine phanerogams||Miguel Ángel Mateo Mínguez, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes - CSIC||111.034,80€|
|Sentinels of the sea: remote monitoring of marine birds applied to adaptive management in the statewide national park network||Jacob González-Solís Bou, Universidad de Barcelona||71.875,00€|
|Genetic characterization ("metabarcoding") of biodiversity and its disturbances in benthic communities of marine national parks||Francesc Xavier Turón Barrera, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes - CSIC||49.565,00€|
|Control of POPs according to the Stockholm Convention and mercury in gull eggs: databases, historical data and environmental management||Silvia Lacorte Bruguera, Instituto de Diagnóstico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua - CSIC||67.275,00€|
On this line, which project related to ICT for the marine sector could be highlighted?
We can highlight the following:
A. Sentinels of the sea: remote monitoring of marine birds applied to adaptive management in the statewide national park network. Tracking through GPS devices implanted on Scopoli's shearwaters to know their movements and fishing areas.
B. Monitoring of meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the National Park, conducted in collaboration with Meteogalicia. It consists of a network of meteorological and oceanographic stations that broadcast their data in real time and store their data in databases openly available to all researchers who need them.
C. Development of an app for the detection and monitoring of invasive species in the terrestrial and marine environment, developed in collaboration with the OAPN. This app will be available to the general public, and will enable users, under the concept of "citizen science", to locate, date and quantify the presence of invasive flora and fauna species in the Park.
Regarding research, which topics do you believe should be researched further, that is, which industry needs are not yet being covered by specific technologies?
The answer is complicated because in the department I lead we focus primarily on the protection and conservation of nature in general, supporting any research initiative that deals with these aspects. At this point, it is very important to establish the real impact caused by the management of public use, even more so in the case of a national park, which must forcefully be a space for research but also to disseminate this information to the general public, with its consequent impacts. The importance of the exploitation of resources on certain species is a major issue.
Having said this, it is more complicated to establish whether research needs, which are significant, are covered or not by specific technologies. Just to name a few:
- Evaluation and monitoring of the impact of fishing on the conservation status of the natural environment through ICT: position of fishing vessels, fishing gear draft zones, monitoring of catches, etc.
- Remote monitoring of species, habitats and ecological processes. Satellite remote monitoring and sensing, position transmitters, continuous data loggers of environmental variables,...
- Data recording and information management. Field data capture devices, data storage systems to facilitate their access and viewing.
What do you consider to be Galicia’s research potential in the field? How do you think it is valued in the community?
According to the practical experience developed through the national park, there is a significant amount of highly trained scientists with research interests in the marine environment. Properly exploited, this human capital represents a significant opportunity for research in Galicia.
How do you see the future of the Galician research community in the coming years and especially that of those who contribute in the maritime sector?
Again according to what is observed in the national park, the main constraint to reach the potential mentioned in the previous section seems to be the economic resources devoted to fund research activities. If the provision of funds is sufficient, a very positive future can be expected.
To what extent do you think the STAMAR project can contribute to improving the competitiveness of the maritime sector?
By promoting the incorporation of new technologies by marine sector SMEs.
Do you think Galicia can give continuity to STAMAR’s philosophy once the project ends?
There is considerable scope for action in this regard, as there are still many SMEs in which the incorporation of new technologies is low.