Researchers from the Loro Parque Fundación and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) have marking a total of 16 tablecloths with an acoustic transmitter in the waters of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, with the aim of monitor and estimate hotspots for this seriously threatened species of extinction.
The action is co-financed by the Canary Islands Government and Loro Parque through the CanBIO project, according to a statement issued this Monday, and was developed by researchers from the University Institute of Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA) of the ULPGC, Loro Parque Fundación and the Poema del Mar aquarium.
This mechanism allows individual identification of the butterfly ray specimens (Gymnura altavela) since sounds are detected by fixed stations and also by reception systems installed in conventional or autonomous boats, the researchers have explained.
According Javier Almunia, director and researcher of the Loro Parque Fundación, the importance of this initiative lies in the fact that, despite the fact that the waters of the Archipelago are recognized as one of the last bastions of the species, “a large part of its biology, ecology, population distribution, migratory movements or other relevant data is unknown”.
It is part of the BioMAR project, which is dedicated, among other aspects, to improving information on the populations of certain critically endangered marine species.
The Minister of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the Government of the Canary Islands, Jose Antonio ValbuenaHe explained that these types of projects “are aligned with the roadmap” that the Executive has set in the legislature, in which it is intended to approve the Law of Biodiversity and Natural Resources of the Canary Islands. “This normative project has among its main purposes protect our biodiversity and, especially, species threatened by the incidence of human activity in their natural environment”He added.
These markings took place on La Pinta beach, in Adeje, with four copies and twelve in the Pasito Blanco beach, in Gran Canaria. With the marking process completed, researchers from the SIANI University Institute and technicians from the Integrated Marine Technology Service (SITMA), both linked to the ULPGC, will soon carry out campaigns with autonomous vehicles (the A-Tirma sailboat and underwater gliders) to better understand the size of the mantelina populations and their movements in the Archipelago.