ALL PROJECTS

In the marine environment, anthropogenic pressures on resources and non-anthropogenic causes may create harmful conditions that affect human society. Harmful algal blooms and habitat destruction are examples, which pose serious human-health threats and severely affect numerous industries, causing annual economic losses in the tens of millions of euros, in the form of reduced sales, diminished tourist activity and unemployment. A widely adopted, scientific way to assess the environmental status of water bodies is by measuring their optical properties (as indicators of, e.g., sewage impact, dissolved organic matter, sediment load or gross biological activity). The Citclops project aims to develop systems to retrieve and use data on seawater colour, transparency and fluorescence, using low-cost sensors combined with contextual information (e.g., georeferencing) and a community-based Internet platform, taking into account existing experiences (e.g., Secchi Dip-In, Coastwatch Europe and Oil Reporter). Simple and fast methods to establish the optical properties of seawater will be developed and used: e.g., the colour through Forel-Ule observations, and transparency through a variant of the Secchi disc. People will be able to acquire data taking photographs of the sea surface on ferries or other vessels, at the open sea or from the beach. Wearable digital cameras for aquatic activities with extended sensing systems are also proposed as alternative resources for crowdsourcing data. Data are automatically uploaded through a specific service or application (such as Google+ Instant Upload), archived remotely and processed, and resulting information is accessed through a webpage or a mobile application by end users. These are: policy makers (e.g., local administrations), which will be able to use the information to improve the management of the coastal zone; and citizens, who will be able to maximize their experience in activities in which water quality has a role.

Reduce the fish oil inclusion level in aquaculture feeds while maintaining high levels of marine omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in fish products to meet consumer expectations is a major problem of modern aquaculture. Both of these conditions reflect the necessity to examine in depth nutritional strategies aimed to maximise EPA and DHA retention on fish tissues. Omega3max aims to optimise dietary fatty acid composition and antioxidant sources and concentration to limit in vivo oxidative stress in fish tissues helping to preserve EPA and DHA. In addition not only the quantity of EPA+DHA, but also the position of both fatty acids to conform triacyglycerols and phospholipids, is becoming an important aspect in terms of function and bioavailability for human consumers. Therefore, the present project also aims to study the regiospecificity of fatty acids which is a novel issue for fish nutritionist with important implications on the nutritive quality of the fish flesh. This programme aims to increase the EU aquaculture industry competitiveness being more cost-effective and improving the nutritional value and quality of aquaculture products but also to strengthen the research and educational potential on aquaculture of both sectors industry and academia. The proposed research group in this Consortium comprises four partners, including two national non-commercial organisations namely the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM-Spain) and the Christian-Albrechts University Kiel (CAU-Germany) as well as two commercial enterprises namely Skretting Aquaculture Research Center (Skretting ARC-Norway) and Lucta (Spain). Both the academic and industrial partners have a strong track record on research activities and already established successful research collaborations in the recent past. We propose to create a long-lasting consortium of leading researchers with complementary expertise that can synergize innovative research in the fields of fish nutrition and health.

Fisheries management through a platform of governance that associates professional, scientific sectors and NGOs. Channeled through the South Western and North Western Regional Advisory Councils, Gepeto combines stakeholders’ resources and capabilities to improve the bio-socio-economical sustainability of long term fisheries management plans in the AA.

The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) involves the conservation of ecosystem structures, processes and interactions through sustainable use. European countries are committed to adapting an EAF. However, there are currently gaps in this approach that hamper its full implementation in the management of fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The aim of the CREAM project, funded by the EU, was to identify these gaps in order to implement the EAF. The project successfully established an effective collaboration network among the key players in fisheries research and management within the two regions concerned. Main actors in fisheries assessment and management in the Mediterranean and Black Seas reviewed the short comings of data and methods applied and how to overcome them. They also examined how best to improve the coordination of the fisheries research of European and International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPCs). CREAM evaluated the capacity to address EAF issues in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. In general, the highest scores were recorded for knowledge related to fishing fleet structure/behaviour as well as on fish species/habitats. The lowest scores were attributed to knowledge of modelling, and socioeconomic and management issues. The results provided a global picture at a wide geographical level, giving useful information that enabled the implementation of the EAS to be properly addressed. CREAM also organised a workshop titled Scientific strategy for a global approach to promote regional EAF in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Its findings included the fact that the EAF's network vision should also promote the recovery of ecosystems and the rebuilding of marine commercial stocks and predatory fish species. Two international EAF training courses were held to train the scientists and advisors involved in fisheries assessment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea countries. Sustainable fishing has been a long-standing priority for the EU, so every step closer to achieving this will be welcomed by policymakers, industry and consumers alike. The CREAM project successfully established organisational procedures for the creation of a permanent network of fisheries scientists and management bodies. This strengthened the scientific basis of EAF application in Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries. By integrating non-EU countries, it ensured that the foundation of an EAF for the two regions also reaches third countries.

Understanding to what extent human activities have altered marine biodiversity is an increasingly urgent societal challenge and of considerable scientific and policy concern. Our ignorance of the pressures upon and fate of marine biodiversity is, in part, because there are few synoptic global indicators to measure changes in marine biodiversity. Moreover, it has proven challenging to effectively incorporate ecosystem considerations into fisheries management decisions and advice. The main objectives of the OceanTuneIn project are (1) to develop new indicators for measuring biodiversity change in oceanic marine ecosystems using tunas and billfishes as sentinels of ocean health, and (2) to develop management guidelines to determine how these indicators can be effectively used for improving management and conservation of oceanic ecosystems. These objectives will be achieved through six main tasks: (1) Developing indicators of pressure, and ecological state for measuring biodiversity change; (2) Testing the performance of candidate indicators to identify reference points against which ecosystems can be assessed; (3) Developing management guidance in the performance and interpretation of candidate indicators to aid decision-makers in their potential use; (4) Training the Fellow in quantitative state-of-the-art methods; (5) Fostering collaborations with the tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations and (6) Raising societal awareness through effective communication of benefits of healthy oceans for the well being of humanity. The new knowledge, tools, training, and collaborations generated in this project have the potential to enhance Europe’s capacity to meet strategic national and international policy commitments in light of the European Commission Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the 2020 Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets.

The States have the obligation of assuring the sustainability of the fishery resources they exploit and being actively involved in encouraging responsible fishing based on scientific research. With this in mind, the fundamental purpose of the TXOTX project is to facilitate a coherent scientific research approach on world’s oceans fisheries to support policy-making at international level, directed at the assessment and management of resources sustainably, putting the focus on research and funding. Hence, the actions proposed should be coherent with the main international agreements in these matters (UNCLOS, CCRF, UNIA, CMDS). During the project lifetime, the Consortium will carry out four main tasks, for whose completion, the cooperation with States, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and other relevant agencies will be required. Firstly, the project will collate the greatest information possible on scientific research programs, and Fisheries Partnership agreements from different world’s oceans regions. In particular, the project will focus on those regions where the European fleet is fishing, or the EU has important development goals – with special emphasis on Caribean-Pacific and African zones. Secondly, the project will analyse available data and methodologies applied in the regional assessment and management procedures, in order to identify gaps in the collection of data and in the coordination of research. Thirdly, based on the identified gaps, the project will draw up recommendations on how to improve cooperation with third parties oriented towards enhancing research which will ensure the sustainability of the resources. Finally, the TXOTX Consortium proposes to build a network of scientists and rest of stakeholders – including the general public, in countries with a strategic geographical interest for the EU, to produce a synthesis of data collection standards, assessment methods and management procedures which will be disseminated to achieve the objectives above.

The Future Internet Public Private Partnership aims to advance Europe's competitiveness in Future Internet technologies and to support the emergence of Future Internet-enhanced applications of public and social relevance. ENVIROFI (www.envirofi.eu, twitter.com/ENVIROFI) developed a set of enablers through which all environmental data, whether they are generated from sensors, citizens, or models, become available at anytime and anywhere through the Internet in an open standardised usable format. Until today, we miss a standardised Open European wide, cross-domain and web-enabled solution for capturing, storing, processing and visualizing the currently growing volume, complexity and heterogeneity of observation data and data-sources. The main reasons for this situation can be traced back from both the shortcomings of available and scalable web service technologies; to the evolution of information systems and data models across thematic and geospatial domains. In order to overcome such problems, ENVIROFI strategically assured that the existing environmental resources can be used in multi-disciplinary applications, while at the same time the environmental applications take advantage of the emerging availability of Future Internet and communication technologies in Europe. Further challenges arose from the project decision point of view led to embracing volunteered geographic information (VGI) technologies, and the adoption of affordable smart sensing to effectively monitor the environment at highly localised resolutions. As a result, the participative community-generated environmental observations is now growing and will by far outweigh the centres specialising in environmental observations through traditional sensor networks. Nevertheless, the new growing wealth of information and data generated from communities cannot be immediately used by public administration, research and educational institutions and industries. This is simply due to the need for deploying new enablers which facilitate the overall aggregation, fusion, geospatial tagging and semantic alignment of the large and complex structured, semi-structured and unstructured data from participative communities sensing ENVIROFI motivated such enablement with requirements in accord with the Future Internet core platform of generic enablers specifications, while contributing into the overall FI-PPP enablement acceleration and validation of software applications in the Environmental Information Space. This Final Report documents the experience made by the European research project ENVIROFI as one of the usage area projects within the first phase of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership programme. It describes the software components (environmental/specific enablers) which are required to connect with the domain-independent capabilities (generic enablers) of the Future Internet core platform for geospatially and environmentally-driven applications. ENVIROFI worked on three scenarios in the areas of biodiversity, human/environment interaction, and collaborative usage of marine data: 1. Bringing Biodiversity into the Future Internet: enabled biodiversity surveys with advanced ontologies; analysis, quality assurance and dissemination of biodiversity data 2. Personal Information System for air pollutants, allergens and meteorological conditions: enhance human to environment interaction; atmospheric conditions and pollution in “the palm of your hand” 3. Collaborative Usage of Marine Data Assets. Assess needs of key marine user communities; selection of representative marine use cases for further trial: leisure and tourism, ocean energy devices, aquaculture, oil spill alert

Obesity and other lifestyle-related illness are among the top healthcare challenges in Europe. Obesity alone accounts for up to 7% of healthcare costs in the EU, as well as wider economy costs associated with lower productivity, lost output and premature death. Obesity in younger age is an alarming predictor for obesity in adulthood, but also entails short term health complications in juvenile age along with greater risk of social and psychological problems. Knowing how to stay healthy is not enough to motivate individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles, but relevant progress can be achieved through the use of incentives delivered through a combination of processes and mobile technologies. Recognizing the effectiveness of this approach, the PEGASO project developed a multi-dimensional cross-disciplinary ICT system that will exploit sophisticated game mechanics to motivate behavioural changes towards healthier lifestyles and prevent overweight and obesity in the younger population. The project relied on ICT technologies to implement a framework for the promotion of an health service based on three main features: individual and environmental monitoring, including wearable sensors, mobile phone and multimedia diaries for the acquisition of physical, physiological and behavioural attributes of participants; feedback to the user, presenting personalised healthy options for alternative lifestyles; social connectivity, encouraging involvement in social network experience sharing and social engagement. For the system development, a user centred approach, social and networked games and online education were used. PEGASO was tested with over 300 adolescents in three EU member states (Spain, Italy, UK). The development of PEGASO project mobilized a wide stakeholders' ecosystem contributed by National Health Authorities and Research Institutions, Industries and Academia from the ICT and healthcare sectors, as well as food companies and SMEs.

COMET-LA was a project coordinated by the University of Cordoba and funded under the European Commission Framework Programme 7. The acronym stands for “COmmunity-based Management of EnvironmenTal challenges in Latin America”. The objective of the project was to “identify community-based governance models for the management of natural resources that could be used in different socio-ecological systems in the context of climate change and increasing competition over resources”. The project ran from January 2012 - January 2015. Central to the project was civil society – scientific partnership: the ethos of the project was very much about working with and for communities to co-construct understandings of local natural resource management, likely future challenges and potential responses. This project worked with partners and local communities in sites across three countries: Colombia, Mexico and Argentina. This was an 'action research' project: we aimed to help these local communities to identify locally-owned solutions to resource management challenges, and also help contribute to the literature on community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), to provide insights into common challenges and useful strategies for resource management and governance.

Located between land and sea, lagoons and estuaries mark the transition from freshwater to seawater. These dynamic and productive environments are increasingly under threat from urbanisation, industry, agriculture and recreational use. They also face the growing impacts of climate change. The ARCH project (Architecture and roadmap to manage multiple pressures on lagoons, http://www.arch-fp7.eu) worked with policymakers, local authorities and researchers to manage the challenges facing lagoons and estuarine coastal areas. The consortium conducted case studies at 10 selected lagoons and estuaries across Europe. At each site, project partners used a workshop methodology to develop a roadmap for managing current and future challenges. This was achieved by examining the social, economic and ecological status of the lagoon and linking them to a spatial planning methodology. The framework was used to draw up a state-of-the-lagoon report for each of the 10 case study sites, taking a step towards individual management plans by identifying key-issues at each site. During the process, policymakers, scientists and managers were involved and invited to discuss the present status, future scenarios and select relevant solutions. From these reports, the ARCH initiative developed roadmaps for implementing solutions, which will involve all the local actors. In addition, it produced a management guide for coastal managers and policymakers as well as a European lagoon management handbook. ARCH also conducted Evaluation and Instruction workshops that involved international scientists and other relevant parties external to the project. Finally, two international conferences and a website disseminated the results to global audiences. Ultimately, the project's findings will be used to create applicable solutions to protect lagoon ecosystems and preserve Europe's natural heritage.