REMINDERS

  • Call for Short Term Scientific Missions within the PERIAMAR Cost Action

    The COST Action PERIAMAR aims to design an environmental risk assessment (ERA) procedure to avoid unacceptable impacts of pesticides to amphibians and reptiles. With this purpose, PERIAMAR has established a multidisciplinary network of scientists from research institutions (including CESAM & UA), regulatory agencies, chemical industry, environment-focused NGOs, and research privatebusiness that will analyse the available information and design an ERA protocol for possible implementation in the future. Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening existing networks, and fostering collaboration between COST Action participants. An STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, whilst at the same time allowing those partaking in the missions to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions/organizations. STSM grants are financial contributions for travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses. Applicants will indicate the requested contribution, which can be up to a maximum of 4,000 EUR. Deadlines:- For STSM to be initiated before 28 February, 2023: 15 January 15, 2023- For STSM to be initiated after 01 March, 2023: 19 February, 2023More information: HERE  

  • Fluviário de Mora 2022 Award - Young Scientist of the Year

    This award aims to distinguish a student (PhD, MSc, BSc) who has published, as first author, an 2022 article (SCI journal), on conservation and biodiversity of aquatic resources (estuaries and rivers). The present edition will reward the distinguished researcher with the recognition of the quality and importance of his work and with a monetary prize of 1000 euros. Applications must be submitted by January 15, 2023 and may be made by the supervising professors, co-authors of the articles or by the students themselves. Each candidate may only submit one article to the competition.


NEWS

  • CESAM celebrates the World Soil Day - brief talk with Ana Bastos

    On the 5th of December, we will celebrate World Soil Day with a set of activities open to the public. Complexo Pedagógico, Científico e Tecnológico| from 2 pm | no registration needed To understand the importance of this date and the relevance of the research on this topic, we had an informal conversation with three of our researchers. The third researcher we met was Ana Bastos (CESAM |Departamento de Ambiente e Ordenamento da Universidade de Aveiro). The excerpts below are the result of this brief informal conversation, which took place in their laboratories. Video available here Communication_CESAM: ‘How important are soils in our daily lives? Ana Bastos: Our life revolves around the soil. Soil performs numerous vital functions, and in doing so, it provides us with multiple services. We could spend the rest of the day talking about the functions that the soil performs, but there are actually some that we come across more in our day-to-day life: it is structure and support for our homes and buildings; it is the basis for producing our food (by the way, FAO Fact Sheets estimate that around 95% of the calories we use daily come from the soil) but it also provides biomass and raw materials (including the textile fibers for our clothing) ; regulates the abundance and quality of our water resources (including extreme events such as floods), as well as the quality of the air and atmosphere (and in this case, being the 2nd largest carbon reserve on the planet, after the oceans, it plays a role central to climate regulation); and the one for which I have a special preference, is that it is a reservoir of life and biodiversity 'par excellence', biodiversity that has countless essential applications, such as in the food industry and in biomedicine (did you know that many of our drugs, including antibiotics, immunosuppressants and antitumours, does it come from (micro)organisms in the soil?). However, soils are subject to numerous pressures, namely from anthropogenic origin. Therefore, it is vital that we investigate how our activities impact the soil to define concrete goals and solutions to concrete problems, namely by the agri-food and agroforestry sectors. And regarding soil research, CESAM finds itself in a leading position regarding the inter- and trans-disciplinarity that characterise it and the quality and applicability of the results generated here. And I would like to invite these sectors: look for CESAM, look for our services, because we have every interest in working with you to solve your problems, which are, after all, our problems. Communication_CESAM: ‘And what research questions are you trying to answer in your laboratory related to this topic?’ Ana Bastos: Our research focuses on the study and sustainable application of biochar (a product of biomass pyrolysis) in vulnerable soils to improve and restore some specific functions without compromising others. Hence the reference to “sustainable” requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work to identify which combinations of factors guarantee this commitment. Now, what soil functions are we trying to optimise? In general, they relate to: the ability to store water (which we call the function of the soil's “sponge”), to improve the adaptability of our terrestrial ecosystem to climate change and combat desertification; the ability to retain nutrients, which, combined with water retention, leads to an increase in plant growth rate and agricultural/forestry productivity; 3carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases; finally, another essential function that has become a focal point of our work (because there is still very little research on this subject outside CESAM) has to do with improving the habitat for soil pollinators and macroinvertebrates, considering the role fundamental importance that these communities have, namely in terms of agricultural production and terrestrial trophic chains. Of course, we work, above all, in an interdisciplinary way, and we have some key partnerships here, namely with Terraprima, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-ID), Instituto Superior de Agronomia, o MED of the University of Évora, the Bairrada Wine Station (DRAPC) and Harper-Adams University (UK). However, we remain open and interested in establishing new collaborations inside and outside the UA.

  • CESAM celebrates the World Soil Day - brief talk with Susana Loureiro

    On the 5th of December, we will celebrate World Soil Day with a set of activities open to the public. Complexo Pedagógico, Científico e Tecnológico| from 2 pm | no registration needed To understand the importance of this date and the relevance of the research on this topic, we had an informal conversation with three of our researchers. The second researcher we met was Susana Loureiro (CESAM |Departamento de Biologia da Universidade de Aveiro). The excerpts below are the result of this brief informal conversation, which took place in their laboratories. Video available here Communication_CESAM: ‘How important are soils in our daily lives? Susana Loureiro: One of the essential functions of the soil is to filter out all the chemical substances that end up in the soil. And they end up in the soil, from pesticides, agricultural fertilisers... sludge from wastewater treatment plants end up in the soil... all these components have chemical substances that can have high or low mobility, that is, travel through the vertical profile of the soils of a quickly, slowly or not at all and remain motionless. And if they travel quickly through the soil profile, they also quickly reach the groundwater, which is the source of the water we drink and the water that goes to the rivers. Communication_CESAM:‘And why do we need research on soils?’ Susana Loureiro: Our objective is to understand if the soils have any contaminants that will impact, for example, a river or a lake, or if it stops us from providing a service related to primary production. In the agricultural component, for example, which is one of the essential services provided by soils, imagine that a pesticide is sprayed and it rains heavily that day, and this causes runoff into a stream that is in an adjacent location. Automatically, everything you apply will flow into the river. Currently, our soils are saturated many times with nitrates and phosphates due to the intense application and also with some chemical compounds that are persistent in the soils.What we do here is simulate this runoff into the rivers through a mixture that we make of water with soil, which is then agitated, centrifuged, extracted and tested with living organisms - freshwater aquatic organisms. And even in 'blind' samples (which we don't know their chemical composition), these organisms will give us clues about the health of that soil. In addition to several projects currently underway, we have a partnership with a company called Entogreen, a company dedicated to the production of insects and which has an environmental circularity component. The insects feed on waste, whether plant or waste that cannot be disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way, for example, olive pomace from olive oil production – which is a waste that doesn’t have an effective treatment because it has a very complex and toxic matrix.These and other residues, such as plant residues that come from supermarkets, are given to the insects, and they process them; that is, they eat them, and their waste, together with the seedlings of the insect larvae, are pelleted and form a very good for soils. Another component that we are also working on is more oriented towards environmental pollution, which is also linked to the soil ecosystem. There are several European and world projects that study and shape how we are going to be in a few years and the future is not very bright. We are losing a lot of soil biodiversity, which is very important for the normal and natural recycling that soils do of organic matter, and nutrients...We try to help with monitoring tools; that is, we don't do remediation processes, we don't do the waste treatment. What we do is verify the effectiveness of the treatment because chemically analysing a matrix may not be enough because some specific compound may ‘fail’. But we use living beings (earthworms) that are capable of indicating whether or not there is something that is not right in these soil samples.

  • CESAM celebrates the World Soil Day

    In celebration of this date, CESAM (Center for Environmental and Marine Studies) is organising next Monday (December 5th) a set of public activities in the atrium of the Pedagogical, Scientific and Technological Complex of the University of Aveiro, starting at 14:00 h and no registration is needed. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly established December 5 as World Soil Day. And since 2015, the Global Partnership for Soil and the Food and Agriculture Organization have associated a motto to World Soil Day that aims to alert the world to the various problems related to soil degradation. This year, World Soil Day celebrates the theme “Soils: where food begins” to highlight the relevance of implementing sustainability and food security at a global level. With this objective in mind, CESAM through its thematic line “Ecology and Functional Biodiversity”, presents the following activities to the public: Exhibition and tasting of food products whose production involves sustainable practices. The companies Banca Terra, Vale Aromático, Tecmafoods: Insect based feed & food, Lda, Susana Patrícia da Silva Rodrigues, Lda and an Informal Exchange Group will be present. Lecture “Insects and agriculture: the necessary circularity for a sustainable future” - Professor Susana Loureiro | 16:00 h | room 23.1.5 This thematic line, which has contributions from eight of the 12 research groups that make up CESAM, has Isabel Lopes as coordinator, principal researcher, and assistant researcher Nelson Abrantes as co-coordinator, both from the Department of Biology at the University of Aveiro. According to Isabel Lopes, “the celebration of World Soil Day constitutes a platform, at a global level, to raise awareness among the various actors in human society for the importance of healthy soil and for the sustainable management of resources and ecosystem services that it provides us. With this awareness, it is intended to encourage, on a global scale, governments, various organisations, communities and individuals to commit to the protection and conservation of biodiversity and soil function.” Because soil is a non-renewable and finite natural resource, its use for the most diverse anthropogenic activities has contributed to the fact that currently, 33% of the soils worldwide are considered degraded. This loss of healthy soil compromises some of its ecosystem functions and services, such as food and drinking water supply. It also constitutes a relevant threat to the maintenance and conservation of biodiversity. Therefore, it is essential to generate knowledge about the functioning of soils and understand their main threats.As Isabel Lopes points out, “under the Thematic Line Ecology and Functional Biodiversity, of CESAM, we develop innovative research focused on understanding the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, giving particular emphasis to the study of their communities and interactions in response to various environmental disturbances, including global changes. Furthermore, we develop methodologies and new technologies that allow the recovery and correction of degraded soils, promoting the restoration of their functions. In agricultural production, we are also involved in developing more environmentally friendly plant protection products and sustainable food production strategies”.

  • CESAM celebrates the World Soil Day - brief talk with Sónia Rodrigues

    On the 5th of December, we will celebrate World Soil Day with a set of activities open to the public. Complexo Pedagógico, Científico e Tecnológico| from 2 pm | no registration needed To understand the importance of this date and the relevance of the research on this topic, we had an informal conversation with three of our researchers. The first researcher we met was Sónia Rodrigues (CESAM |Departamento de Ambiente e Ordenamento da Universidade de Aveiro). The excerpts below are the result of this brief informal conversation, which took place in their laboratories. Video available here Communication_CESAM: ‘How important are soils in our daily lives? Of course, agriculture and food security are absolutely essential for our society, given that we have a growing world population. But there is a whole set of other soil functions that allow, for example, dealing with extreme meteorological events, where the ability of water to infiltrate the soil is essential to control flooding in areas where this is possible. (...) Soil also plays a vital role in combating climate change regarding carbon storage. (…) It also serves as a filter for leaching water and protecting the water quality and hence often accumulating contaminants that reach the soil.And then naturally, in terms of human health, because soil health also impacts human health, because if we protect soil ecosystems, reducing their contamination, this has a positive effect on the health of organisms, animals and of the populations of these places. Communication_CESAM:‘And why do we need research on soils?’ Human activity has been developing pressures on the soil system that limit its ability to develop its natural functions. Currently, it is estimated that between 60 and 70% of soil ecosystems are degraded in Europe, making it difficult for the soil to perform its natural functions.And our research work has focused on specific aspects of these soil functions. First, we started by developing a set of studies where we tried to understand the soil's filtering capacity and the processes involving soil contaminants. And how could these contaminants be available to organisms and plants from a food safety point of view.Presently, we have been focusing on recovering some of the lost functions and reusing materials and by-products that we are collecting from industries, from a circular economy perspective. After these by-products are incorporated into soil amendments and fertilisers, they will be returned to the soil, helping to recover areas where vegetation no longer grows and where its filtering functions are at risk. This is part of the perspective of the new European fertiliser regulation, updated in 2019, which allowed the incorporation of organic waste and some industry by-products in fertiliser materials, provided that they comply with the environmental and safety requirements of the new legislation.Additionally, our research also has a significant component in using nanotechnology and new nanomaterials that can be used as vehicles for more efficient application of both fertilisers and some pesticide products.This work has been carried out in partnership with the University of Carnegie Mellon for some years now (…), and we also have a very close collaboration with the Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (GET) of the University of Toulouse. (…) We also collaborate with industries, such as the Navigator Company, an industry with which we have collaborated to supply some waste in a partnership within the scope of a scientific project, 'LIFE No_Waste'.

CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020