iSEA Project - Initiative towards sustainable macroalgae farming along European shores.

    1. Connect knowledge providers presenting expertise in macroalgae biology with stakeholders in macroalgae aquaculture from Norway and Portugal to stimulate research and development (R&D) for a future-proof economically successful and environmentally sustainable production of macroalgal biomass in both countries.
    2. Identify research gaps and questions that need to be addressed to bring the sustainable development of macroalgae farming beyond the current state of the art with the ultimate goal to develop macroalgae as a socially and environmentally sustainable aquaculture resource in Norway and Portugal. 
Expected results: 
    1. A research proposal focusing on the realization of socially and environmentally sustainable macroalgae aquaculture. The proposal can be targeted in slightly varying forms/parts to different funding agencies with suitable calls in the fields of ‘blue growth’, ‘sustainable use of marine resources, ‘biotechnological applications’, but also ‘ecological management and restoration’ (e.g. EEA, Horizon Europe, ERA-BIODIVERSA, BlueBiovalue, EU’s LIFE program calls, and national calls such as from the Norwegian Research council (Havbruk and Marinforsk programmes), and the Foundation for Science and Technology.
    2. A peer-reviewed scientific Perspectives/Opinion paper, co-authored by all partners, that highlights research gaps and proposes steps to move beyond the current state of the art in the development of European macroalgae culture to a profitable industry in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. The paper(s) will be published Open Access in an appropriate journal, such as Algal Research (IF: 4.0), Frontiers in Marine Science (IF 3.7), or Aquaculture reports (IF: 2.3).
    3. Public awareness will be raised through different media channels to the ecosystem services of natural kelp forests and the role of macroalgae cultivation in the green shift of the aquaculture industry.

Partners: Nord University, CCMAR, AlgaPlus, NIBIO

PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte (PT)

PI: Dr. Alexander Jutterbock (NO)

Funding: EEA Grants Bilateral Fund 


AQUA-PROSPECT Project - Prospecting and Mapping Aquaculture areas free of Toxins and Emerging Contaminants 

The AQUA-PROSPECT Project has as its main objective the prospecting and evaluation of potential areas for the practice of aquaculture. It is intended to collect data that allow to detect possible seasonal effects on the physical-chemical and biological quality of the waters through the screening of emerging toxins and contaminants, identifying and mapping ideal areas for the practice of aquaculture in the long term, thus protecting the interests of producers and farmers. consumers.

Partners: University of Santiago de Compostela  

PI: Dr. Marisa Silva

Co-PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte

Funding: Mar2020 Program 


VALTOX Project - Valorization of marine resources with high commercial interest by tracing emerging toxins and contaminants 

In this project with the aid of hyphenated techniques (LC / UPLC-MS / MS) we intend to track and evaluate the prevalence of TEs in two species of high commercial value on the Portuguese mainland: Percebes (Pollicipes pollicipes), due to their high filtration capacity and sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividos) due to their eating habits, covering the water column from the top to its base. Another reason for choosing these two organisms is due to the strong market demand for this type of products, leading to high harvesting pressure, reducing natural stocks. This pressure also results in harvesting by its own motto, culminating in poisoning incidents by TEs not epidemiologically tracked, given the lack of legislation to protect consumers.

Partners: MARE-UÉvora  

PI: Dr. Marisa Silva

Co-PI: Dr. Vanessa Fonseca

Funding: MARE (FCT) 


The MarCODE Project aims to develop biochemical and elemental tracers of geographical origin for marine edible products. For this, elemental, isotopic, biochemical and microbiological tracers will be analysed in marine edible products and gathered within an Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach to develop a specific code of origin to be included in the MarCODE label. Additionally the nutritional profile of the products will also be evaluated in order to promote the more healthy and more sustainable products and origins.



PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte

Co-PI: Dr. Vanessa Fonseca

Funding: Mar2020 Program 


The OPTOX Project aims to apply non-invasive high-throughput screening (HTS) techniques, namely pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry, laser induced fluorescence (LIF) and spectroradiometry, as tools for ecotoxicology assessment in marine phototrophs exposed to emerging contaminants. These tests will be applied in model organisms, representative of major marine authotrophic groups (microalgae, macroalgae and marine angiosperms such as seagrasses and halophytes), and integrated through artificial intelligence (AI) for ecotoxicological indexes development. Allied to this innovative bio-optical approach, biochemical/metabolic tests will also be performed in exposed organisms, allowing confirmation of the physiological stress conditions. This multidisciplinary approach intents to produce innovative ecotoxicology tests of great added value for future management requirements and impact assessment.


PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte

Funding: FCT 


In the genesis of this project is the recognition of the important ecological and socioeconomic role of marshes and the worrying increase of stands of the non-indigenous S. patens species in their distribution areas. Associated with the current loss of plant biodiversity, there are the inevitable impacts on the fauna dependent on the salt marsh ecosystem, especially on fish and macrobentic species with high ecological and economic value. These are key species for a wide range of marine management and conservation issues that can alert and raise public awareness of the importance of maintaining the endemic flora of the marshes for society. Considering these facts, the RESTAURA2020 project aims to develop non-chemical removal methods for this invasive species and to study its impacts on the estuarine community.

Partners: BioISI

PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte

Funding: Mar2020 Program 


BioPharma Project (PTDC/MAR-EST/3048/2014)

Pharmaceutical compounds are considered emerging pollutants of priority concern, due to their ubiquity in the aquatic environment and to their potential to elicit biological effects even at low concentrations. Given increased use and continuous release of pharmaceutical residues to surrounding waters, mainly from wastewater treatment plants, they are also considered persistent or pseudopersistent contaminants; hence the expression 'medicating the environment' (sensu Arnold et al. 2014).

Yet, present research still faces significant knowledge gaps, particularly concerning bioaccumulation and effects of long-term and mixture exposure in the biota. The information is even scanter when considering organisms in the marine and coastal environment.

In this context, assessing the effects of pharmaceutical residues in the estuarine environment is of paramount importance towards effective management and achieving environmental quality standards.

PI: Dr. Vanessa Fonseca

Funding: FCT


MONIPOR-ACT2019 (POSEUR-03-2013-FC-000001)– Acquisition of services to improve and complement the classification criteria of transitional and coastal water bodies

Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, I. P.

MARE-Polytechnic of Leiria: João Neto – jneto@ci.uc.pt


809.605,18€ (Polytechnic of Leiria) | Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, Portugal // Duration 2019



PI BIOTOX: Dr. Vanessa Fonseca

Funding: Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, I. P.


Mercury (Hg) is recognised as priority pollutant, impacting marine communities. Although phyto- and zooplankton are key components in marine systems little is known about Hg effects on natural communities. The volcanic-Hg impacted Deception Island provides perfect conditions to understand Hg effects on phyto- and zooplankton, and their physiological response and resistance mechanisms to cope with Hg contamination and its impacts on Hg biogeochemical cycling. In the project, Hg availability and phyto- and zooplankton community structure will be determined, and physiological processes (Hg accumulation, pigment profiles, photosynthesis, respiration, fatty acid (FA) composition, oxidative stress biomarkers, and Hg resistance proteins and peptides) assessed. The proposed research will provide lacking fundamental knowledge on the phyto- and zooplankton impacts on Hg biogeochemical cycling in austral ecosystems with potential application to other Hg contaminated environments worldwide.

PI: Dr. Bernardo Duarte and Dr. Teresa Cabrita

Funding: Portuguese Polar Program (PROPOLAR)


The disappearance of the world’s seaweed forests as well as it’s important functions and potential if brought back to life is totally overlooked. Never before has it been more urgent to restore the worlds coastal marine ecosystems. Global awareness of the poor condition of the seas has recently increased rapidly and initiatives like reducing plastic litter and stopping overfishing are getting more support. These are good and sustainable actions. However, sustainable actions are not enough to fix the ocean. Restorative actions are needed - more life needs to be added to the ocean to compensate losses. Seaforestation can be an efficient tool to sequester carbon, combat coastal erosion, take up-excess nutrients in the sea, improve biodiversity, counteract ocean acidification, increase fish stocks, and provide jobs in coastal communities. SeaForester is an initiative focused on the disappearance of marine forests in the world. It recently got Portuguese government approval (Fundo Azul) for a seaforestation project called “SeaForest Portugal” where various seaweed seeding techniques will be tested out at four locations along the Portuguese coast (Viana, Peniche, Sines and Sagres). 

PI: Prof. Ester Serrão (CCMAR/UAlg)

Funding: Câmara Municipal de Cascais