Our recent projects

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Started on 13th of June 2013 until date

 

Every time we have the oportunity for dry dock sampling we do not hesitate. We recently started sampling the hulls of recreational vessels once they go for maintenance at the dry dock. The protocol is based on a questionnaire to yacht owners, hull sampling, species identifications and photo quadrads (20cm x 20cm, n=3) in three diferent sections of the vessel. The data is then compiled into a database for future use. 

 

Early 2013

 

We had the ideia of going "Into the Wild" and started monitoring the marine invasive species of the Madeira Archipelago. This so called Mad_MOMIS monitoring program was inciated in order to study the "alien" species already established on Madeira waters and possible invasions of future ones.  

 

Started on March 2006 until July 2012

 

It was conducted a six-year survey of marina of Quinta do Lorde to assess non-indigenous species (NIS) diversity on the Madeira island, creating the first NIS inventory for the island. Canning-Clode et al. 2013 founf 16 NIS, of which 9 are new records. The number of native species decreased with colonization while the number of NIS significantly increased and most importantly, they demonstrated that the number of NIS detections in the marina was correlated with increasing ship traffic over the years. 

First NIS inventory for Madeira Archipelago done at Marina  of Quinta do Lorde

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Going "Into the Wild" - a new monitoring program is born 
Dry dock recreational vessels monitoring - What 'creatures' are arriving here from other places?

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Effects of climate change in marine invasive species: Preliminary experiments in our lab

Started on 4th of July 2014 until 22nd of December 2014

 

Global warming is hypothesized to lead to dramatic changes on the structure and function of ecosystems worldwide including increased Invasion by non-native species. In laboratory experiments, our student Dennis Brennecke investigated the effects of rising temperature on the abundance and diversity of fouling communities. Prior to the experiments, we deployed 30 PVC settling plates (10x10 cm) set horizontally at 1m depth inside the Marina of Funchal. After 23 weeks of recruitment, settling plates covered with fouling species were retrieved from the field and transferred to laboratory single containers at different temperature levels predicted by ocean warming scenarios (22, 25, and 27°C) for an additional 4-week period. During this time, we assessed change in biomass and species diversity twice a week. We are currently analysing data and will post the results soon.

 

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Started on 29th of October 2013 until 29th of May 2014

 

We are curently monitoring two ports at Madeira island (Funchal and Caniçal) with five TNT condo traps in each port. The goal is to capture non-native mobile fauna (crabs, snails, sea urchins, shrimps, and other crustaceans). TNT condo traps are checked regularly every month for new living hosts.      

 

TNT Condo Traps - Sampling mobile fauna

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Settling plates at local marinas

Started on 05th of July 2013 until date

 

In July 2013 we started the research project Mad_MOMIS, conducted in fout major marinas of the Madeira Archipelago. To date, only the marina of Quinta do Lorde had been previously monitored for fouling non-native species. In total, we have deployed 100 settling pvc plates (14 x 14cm) distributed in four diferent marinas: Calheta, Funchal, Quinta do Lorde and Porto Santo. Plates are sampled every 3 months.

 

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Species identification

 

Nowadays taxonomic especialists are scarse and identification of species is not an easy task. Everytime we find a new species and is not possible for us to identifiy it, we seek help to our taxonomy experts with samples and stereo microscope photos.

 

 

 

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Started on 18th of June 2013

 

We are conducting an experiment using settling plates treated with different concentrations of antifouling coatings rich in heavy metals such as zinc and copper. Our rationale is that non-native species are more tolerant to pollution than natives. as so, we expect to find more non-native species under high concentrations of metals.

Metal pollution and non-native species

 

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Heavy Metal Transfer from Antifouling Paints to Microplastic Particles in Marine Environments

Started on 19th of March 2014 until 2nd of April 2014

 

Anti-fouling paints are known to release heavy metals to the water column by paint deterioration and consequent diffusion. Microplastics are mostly composed by organic polymers being highly attractive molecules for heavy metal binding. In the present work we tested whether heavy metals from different anti-fouling paints can bind to microplastic particles and whether microplastics can be considered an additional form of transport of heavy metals to the food chain.  

 

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Pilot experiment with marine communities from a marine reserve - Garajau

Started on 21th October 2015

 

On a first stage of the Mad iMPAct project we are developing a manipulative field experiment with fouling communities from the marine protected area (MPA) of Garajau, at the south coast of Madeira. We deployed PVC plates at Garajau and after an initial 6-month colonization period at the MPA, 10 PVC settling plates were transferred to Funchal marina to be exposed to high levels of NIS propagule pressure. We aim to evaluate how MPA communities will be affected by settlement and/or expansion of NIS. Preliminary results indicate structure and composition of fouling communities from the MPAs differed from those collected in the marina of Funchal. Hopefully, this pilot study will allow us to gain useful knowledge to apply in the experimental design and during the set up of the future experiments of the project.

 

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Pilot Study - Settling plates under lab conditions

Started on 12th of September 2013 until 09th of December 2013

 

In the marine biology station we are currently working on a pilot study with settling plates that have been exposed to fouling at Quinta do Lorde for over than 6 years. Photos have been taken every 2nd week since the beggining of the experiment and species lists have been compliled. In this preliminary approach, some species decrease while others thrive in laboratory conditions. Soon, we will replicate this experiment and test different antifouling strategies.

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