November 25, 2020

The Canary Islands investigates its marine ecosystem to protect it from climate change


Knowing how climate change and noise affect the marine ecosystem of the Canary Islands and its species in order to protect them is the ultimate goal of the “CanBio” research project, launched by the regional government and the Loro Parque Fundación.

“Climate change is going to affect certain species. The question is to have good prediction models of what increase in temperature there will be, what increase in acidity and how the increase in underwater noise will behave ”, he explained this Saturday at the Poema del Mar Aquarium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the coordinator of CanBio and director of the Loro Parque Fundación, Javier Almunia.

The CanBio project aims to establish a network for marine monitoring of issues related to climate change, ocean acidification and underwater noise, and to learn how this affects critically endangered marine species in the archipelago, such as angelshark, mantelina or turtles , whose communities will be particularly affected by climate change.

In short, “CanBio’s philosophy is to try to establish a surveillance network that allows more precision when it comes to preserving these species”, Almunia stressed.

In the first phase of this research, a buoy has been installed in Gando, southeast of Gran Canaria, while the second will be installed in El Hierro over the next few weeks.

The project began in 2019 and will conclude in 2022, and the Canarian Government and Loro Parque Fundación have invested two million euros in equal parts for its development.

Both buoys have a tool that allows to measure the underwater environment and the amount of noise in the area and, in turn, carry out long-term monitoring, explained the ULL researcher Fernando Rosa, who recalls that the species Marinas are subjected to all the acoustic energy produced by boats, large, sports and even jet skis.

“All the information collected will allow us to have a much better understanding of this treasure of biodiversity that we have in the Canary Islands”, the project coordinator celebrated.

Almunia has specified that the results will offer “a clearer idea of ​​how to protect the species”, but also information on “how to find places where the temperature, acidity and noise are going to be lower, and thus be able to protect them now that we are still on time”.

On the other hand, he warned that although “actions can still be developed to reduce noise or reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere”, currently there is “the inertia of increase that, even with drastic measures , it would continue to increase for a while ”.

For this reason, he highlighted the importance of “measuring” and “knowing what the problem is at the moment” in order to “know how to act to mitigate both noise and CO2 emissions”.

The Canarian Councilor for Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning, José Antonio Valbuena, the vice president of Loro Parque, Christoph Kiessling, the rector of the University of Las Palmas de Gran, also participated in the presentation of this project. Canaria, Rafael Robaina, and the Vice-Rector for Research of the University of La Laguna, Ernesto Pereda.

The counselor José Antonio Valbuena has highlighted that in the Canary Islands, thanks to the sea, “previous generations looked for opportunities in other territories”, just as “people from Africa seek opportunities to reach Europe”.

“The sea has been our sustenance for life for many years and, therefore, we are obliged to preserve our oceans, to pamper and care for them,” he added, insisting that the ultimate goal is “to protect biodiversity.”

Valbuena has proposed to the Loro Parque Fundación the possibility of renewing the collaboration of the institutions in 2022 so that this research project and protection of the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands can continue to reveal information.

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