Questions, answers and other interesting pills to know more about the Bay
How do we estimate the ecosystem services of the bay?
Firstly, measuring physiological responses (respiration, photosynthesis, calcification) of ecosystems forming submerged and emerged forests and monitoring the environment where they live. In situ multi-parametric probes, sensors and discrete measurements (on weekly or monthly base) are used to acquire temperature, oxygen, salinity, pressure, nutrients, pH, pCO and seawater carbonate data. Such information are extremely important to monitor variations of biologica and environmental parameters through time and detect the effects of climate change. A direct citizens’ engagement in ecosystem knowledge and functions in Nature improves the social awareness of benefits that humans gain from Nature and their relevance for the global economy.
Santa Teresa Bay is a site-test for experimenting and validating remoti operating intelligent sensors, designed and developed by CNR-ISMAR within national and international projects for non-invasive and non-destructive observation of marine environment. Such sensors autonomously acquire, interpret and transmit data (e.g. images of marine life, bathymetric surveys, intensity and direction of marine currents,..), thus represent extremely important tools for knowing and understanding marine ecosystems.
WHY IS IMPORTANT TO STUDY PLASTIC CAPACITY OF ABSORBING CONTAMINANTS?
The smallest particles of plastic (micro and nano) can be a vector for transport of contaminants towards marine organisms, thus affecting entire ecosystems. In 2020, an experiment focusing on plastic and bio-plastic degradation has been started at LabMare coastal station (Ligurian District for Marine Technologies), located in Santa Teresa Bay. With the aim of knowing the mechanisms and extent of degradation in marine environment, some cages containing plastic and bio-plastic materials have been placed on the sea bottom (depth = 10m). Samples are analyses at CNR-IPCF Laboratories, in Pisa.
WHY AUTOMATIZED OBSERVATIONS ARE IMPORTANT FOR STUDYING THE OCEAN?
The ocean is a remote and hardly accessible environment, in both shallow and deep coastal areas, as well as in Polar regions. To deeply understand the ecosystem functioning and processes in marine environment, long term observations (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, multi-annual) obtained via high-tech monitoring systems are the tools for acquiring big amount of data (BIG DATA). Since the big quantity of data gained, post-acquisition systems based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) are needed to automatically extract validated data from the operating marine observation systems.
CNR-ISMAR and INGV collaborate with the Bay for studying the consequences of the presence of the plastic in marine environment. In 2019, a study on the absorption of organic persistent pollutants (POPs) in marine environment has been carried out in three sites of the Gulf of La Spezia, in collaboration with Cooperativa dei Mitilicoltori Spezzini, Piscicoltura Portovenere SOC. AGR. A R.L. and Scafo-rimessa Majoli.
WHY IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE MECHANISMS OF PLASTIC AND BIO-PLASTIC DEGRADATION IN MARINE ENVIRONMENT?
Plastic is a material extremely resistant to degradation and, for such reason, an European Directive (2019/904) forbids the production of disposable plastic items. Bio-plastic represents an alternative material to plastic but, if not correctly disposed, once released in marine environment, it requires longer time for being degraded respect to the plastic.