Ponta Delgada, 01 Jul (Lusa) -. A scientific mission which involved researchers from the universities of the Azores and the Algarve first documented in recent days, many marine ecosystems in the seas of the Azorean archipelago. The mission is called “Project Baseline” , the non-governmental organization (NGO) Global Underwater Explorers, which aims to document marine environments and thus realize its evolution and possible consequences of human activity.
Project Baseline manages the project initiatives in 23 countries and is currently doing a “global expedition” with a boat that is crossing the Atlantic, from Florida, U.S., and focusing on targets in the Mediterranean.
Pedro Ribeiro, coordinator of the scientific team of IMAR / DOP (DOP Sea Institute of Azorean university) which led Cable in the Azores expedition, explained that the mission through the use of submarines, took divers to depths of 200 meters, which are impossible to achieve in classic dives. Altogether, 12 dives were made with these unmanned submarines. But the mission also included technical divers, who use tools allowing them to explore depths up to 90 meters and “go there enough to make scientific exploration work time,” he explained. Eight of these dives were made in the Azores.
Finally, there were ten dives with scuba diving classic, up to 40 meters deep.
All these teams are collecting specimens of local wildlife and make a “preliminary assessment” of marine habitats “flagship zones” off the Azores Terceira, Pico and Faial or the islanders of the Ants. “We were able to explore inaccessible areas means we have at present and we documented habitats of high biodiversity very close of us, but usually away from the public eye” he said. Researchers noted that this project aims to document habitats that have undergone a ” great impact “of human activity, but also others with little impact or even untouched and in this case,” the Azores still have that possibility.”
“PedroRibeiro gave the example of” a huge wall “of black coral south of Pico, which scientists know existed but which had never been documented.
DOP’s team will now review what has been collected and documented, referring Pedro Correia who managed to “hundreds of biological samples” that are now used in many studies. The Global Expedition Project Baseline now goes to the Algarve coast, then headed to the Mediterranean.
Besides the four scientists DOP, participated in this mission in the Azores two investigators University of Algarve, which will join the new project in operation, performed on the Algarve coast in the coming days.
-Excerpt translated from http://portocanal.sapo.pt/noticia/30543/