Principal Investigator:
Isabel Sousa Pinto

The Coastal Biodiversity (BioCost) Lab aims at increasing knowledge and understanding on marine biodiversity, from organisms to ecosystems to support better management of marine activities and actively contribute to rebuild marine life. Our research is done in collaboration with research groups from around Europe and beyond, on the importance of biodiversity for the functioning of the living world, on the benefits it provides to people, and how is impacted by human pressures, particularly under scenarios of global environmental change. We’ve also been contributing to create sustainable marine businesses and better policies and regulations at National, European and International scale.

Our focus has been on coastal benthic ecosystems, particularly on seaweed/kelp dominated assemblages, exploring vulnerability drivers, such as climate change, invasions and pollution on ecosystem functions, and diversity patterns. We have also been dedicated to studying cetacean ecology in the Northeast Atlantic, investigating distribution, habitat, and monitoring methodologies by leveraging on collaboration with other CIIMAR teams (e.g., bioacoustics, genomics, health indicators), with other research centers and with platforms of opportunity. Data produced is being integrated in Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS), GEO BON/MBON and OBIS to improve knowledge on Ocean Health, trends of changes and support sustainable management.

Our Lab’s long-term research has been on algal cultivation and use, including species selection and cultivation optimization of macroalgae, as well as on its biochemical characterization and use for different applications. Additionally we have been participating in several European projects that contribute to the restoration of marine ecosystems, either by promoting reforestation using lab-grown seaweeds/kelp (e.g., “green gravel”) or resorting to the use of artificial reefs. Our research about the sustainable use of marine resources includes remote sensing (using Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles - UAV), and in situ stock assessment of commercially important seaweed.

Our research scope includes also addressing the challenges of marine litter and plastic pollution. By partnering with innovative start-up companies and European research groups we aim to better understand the impacts of micro and macro plastics on the marine environment, deploy and test new technologies to remove plastic litter, enhance ocean literacy through citizen science and develop sustainable solutions through policy reform.

BioCost provides solutions, innovative products, and qualified researchers for helping society to overcome the current environmental, societal, economic and scientific challenges, while preserving coastal and marine ecosystems, and engaging with sustainable development worldwide, according to the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Publications Highlights

Franco J., Tuya F., Bertocci I., Rodriguez-Garcia L., Martinez B. Sousa Pinto I., Arenas F. (2017). The ‘golden kelp’ Laminaria ochroleuca under climate change: integrating eco-physiological responses to temperature and nutrients with species distribution models. J. Ecology.

Veiga P., Redondo W., Sousa-Pinto I., Rubal M. (2017). Relationship between structure of macrobenthic assemblages and environmental variables in shallow sublittoral soft bottoms. Marine Environmental Research.

Amaro H.M., Fernandes F., Valentão P., Andrade P.B., Sousa-Pinto I., Malcata F.X., Guedes A.C. (2016). Effect of solvent system on extractability of lipidic components of Scenedesmus obliquus (M2-1) and Gloeothece sp. on antioxidant scavenging capacity thereof. Marine Drugs, 2015, 13(10), 6453-6471;

Azevedo I.C., Marinho G.S., Silva D.M., Sousa-Pinto I. (2016). Pilot scale land-based cultivation of Saccharina latissima Linnaeus at southern European climate conditions: Growth and nutrient uptake at high temperatures. Aquaculture, 459: 166-172.

Krumhansl K.A. et al. (2016). Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113: 13785-13790.