Between the 10th and 16th of September, activities were carried out as part of the “2023 Summer School – Coastal Geosystems Services – the case of Ria Formosa” within the scope of the project “EDUCOAST – Nature-based education in coastal geosciences. A field station in southern Portugal”.
The training took place at the Tavira field station of IPMA, I.P. and was attended by 17 students, national and foreign, most of them attending master courses or doctoral programs in the areas of Earth and Marine Sciences. The team of trainers included 15 teachers and researchers specialized in the areas of geodiversity, blue carbon, hydrodynamics, oceanography and coastal dynamics.
The topic of the impact of coastal geosystems on society was addressed, particularly with regard to the resilience of barrier islands and carbon sequestration by salt marshes, taking into account past and future trends.
The Ria Formosa served as an “open sky” laboratory for carrying out field and practical activities, because the main objective of the training was to provide “hands on” training, through which students effectively learned practical procedures.
On the first day, a boat excursion took place, from Fuzeta to Tavira, and students were introduced to the main characteristics, evolution and dynamic character of the Ria Formosa barrier system. It was the starting point for the field activities that followed, which included the collection of sedimentological, bathymetric, topographic and oceanographic data, either from vessels or in the field, in the coastal and lagoon areas of the Ria Formosa, including the surrounding salt marsh, beach and dune environments. The students acquired skills in field and laboratory equipment and techniques, such as reconstructing terrain elevation models using photogrammetry methods, using a drone and measuring surface currents using autonomous floats.
There was also a field demonstration of the operation of an autonomous underwater vehicle by the team from LSTS/FEUP – Laboratory of Underwater Systems and Technologies/ Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.
The importance of this type of activities in a practical and field context was emphasized by most students, particularly when they were questioned through interviews carried out during the training.
Adjectives such as “inspiring”, “fantastic”, “relevant” were used by the graduates in the one-word characterization of this “Summer School 2023”. The “hands on” environment also enhanced the close relation between trainees and trainers, and the desire for a reunion was expressed.
“Summer School 2023” was covered by RTP3 on the Europa Minha program, Season 9, Episode 13.
The EDUCOAST project, promoted by “IPMA, I.P. – Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera” , is financed by the EEA Grants Blue Growth Program and has as partners the “Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa”, the “Centro Ciência Viva de Tavira” and the “APA – Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente”.