The OCEAN CITIZEN project set sail on a crucial mission to the beautiful Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. From the 6th to the 21st of September, a team of researchers from various European countries came together to launch the project’s second campaign in the island. The main objective of this campaign was to explore the underwater ecosystem of Tenerife’s coastal waters as part of OCEAN CITIZEN’s mission for the recovery, adaptation, and conservation of coastal marine ecosystems.
The campaign began with experts from CNRS, NUIG, and ULPGC using acoustic methods and imagery to explore the deeper parts of the sea from the 6th to the 8th of September. They worked closely with members of IOW and CAU, who were creating a high-resolution bathymetry of the area and mapping the shallow waters with drone footage. This interdisciplinary collaboration will allow a first seamless map of the seafloor and its habitats from the coast down to 100 m water depth.
During the second week of the campaign (11th – 15th), the focus was on interventions that required scuba divers. UGI provided support to the partners by assisting with protocols and performing tasks underwater. Additionally, the ICM-CSIC studied the area and logistics related to the installation of the monitoring station that will acquire multiannual environmental data near the desired Shallow SER® location. The unique seascape and coastal line of Punta Blanca was beautifully recorded by CAU’s drone.
In order to conduct eDNA studies, AWI collected samples of sediment and water from previously studied sites in April. CoNISMa also visited some of the sites surveyed in April with the aim of characterizing the marine flora and fauna biodiversity and abundance. They remained on the island until the 21st of September, primarily focusing on the intertidal area and searching for specimens of Cystoseira.
UGI played a crucial role in the expedition’s success by providing logistical support, acting as a liaison with PAMA diving, and coordinating various aspects of the visit. They actively participated in fieldwork, captured visual material for communication purposes, and organized visits to local dive centers and fisheries associations to keep key stakeholders up to date.
More recently, the teams from PLOCAN, GIA IU-ECOAQUA and UNISAL convened for a technical meeting at the aquaculture facility of Cultivos Marinos Teide, also in Tenerife. Their objectives included assessment of the existing sea-based aquaculture site’s biodiversity, design and planning of the implementation of IMTA (Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture) activities and installation of sensors to facilitate the setup and monitoring of the restorative activities. IMTA is a form of aquafarming that combines two or more functional groups of organisms from different trophic levels, that are connected through nutrient flows. Production will be monitored regularly as more field trips take place.
Overall, the second campaign in Tenerife was a clear success and a great example of collaboration among stakeholders. With each expedition, the project moves closer to achieving its ambitious goals in coastal restoration and, ultimately, contributing to a more sustainable future.