Coastal ecosystems formed by seaweed, seagrasses and saltmarshes are commonly known as blue forests and are among the most valuable ecosystems on earth. Besides its ecological, societal and economic importance, they are little known by society, sea tourism workers and political decision makers.
The BlueForests project is financed by the EEA Grants fund and lead by CCMAR (Centre of Marine Sciences), with headquarters in the University of Algarve, and counts with the participation of a Norwegian partner (SINTEF Ocean) and other Portuguese partners, including partners from the EMSO-PT consortium, led by IPMA.
In the scope of this project, the BlueForests 2022 campaign, carried out by IPMA onboard the oceanographic ship Mário Ruivo between the 30th of May and the 2nd of June, aimed to collect sediment cores from the sea bottom for the indirect determination of the deposition rate of carbon (blue) sequestered by blue forests, transported to the middle continental shelf and deposited in fine sediment bodies. Two areas were selected for sampling, one off Sesimbra and the other off Olhão, in the shelf adjacent to Ria Formosa (photos 1 and 2).
Sampling was done by using a multicorer sampling device between depths of 60m to 100m, approximately, in muddy substrate (photos 3 and 4). The sediments were preserved in tubes at the temperature of 4ºC and transported to IPMA, where the adequate processing will be done by the Department of Marine Geology and CCMAR, including: granulometry, determination of the content in organic carbon and carbonates, imagery and physical and chemical non-destructive properties (MSCL and XRF), analysis of microfossils (foraminifera and diatoms), and analysis of sed-DNA.
The campaign counted with the participation of technicians, scientists and students from the following institutions: IPMA, University of Evora, University of Algarve-CCMAR, CoLAB+ATLANTIC, INESC TEC and Polytechnic Institute of Setubal.