ANERIS and Ocean Cities Network: Joint Spotlight in Ancona Conference

Ancona conference series featured two Citizen Science workshops.

On Thursday 15th the conference cycle “Il mare nelle cità” was held in the Università Politecnica delle Marche, organised by the University, the Ancona city council and the Ocean Cities Network. The conference was focused on the protection and restoration of urban marine ecosystems and bringing added value to the preservation of the marine environment. Among the participants representing ANERIS there were partners from MedCities and ICM-CSIC.

MedCities provided support to Ancona Municipality in the organization of the conference, while Berta Companys (ICM-CSIC) presented the ANERIS project, emphasizing on the citizen science participation and the potential synergies with the city of Ancona. 

The conference’s main highlights were:

  • The interlinks between the urban environment, the sea, and the need to consider all stakeholders and their activities when planning environmental conservation, implementing measures to utilize coastal areas for wellbeing, economic, and social development, etc.
  • The presence of multiple stakeholders at the event (including scientists, politicians, local and regional public authorities, the tourism sector, ports authorities).
  • Discussions about the integrated management of coastal zones involving all actors, highlighting the need for a global effort to protect habitats, and the simultaneous need for a local approach when applying habitat restoration measures.
  • The cases of preventing coastal erosion, the role of fishermen and fisheries for prevention of pollution, and the promotion of Ancona’s coastal habitats for tourism were also discussed.

As side events of the conference, two engaging citizen science workshops took place. The first workshop, in collaboration with the University’s Life and Environmental Science department, acquainted students with the MINKA platform. Emphasizing the importance of continuous marine biodiversity monitoring, the workshop included a beach walk on Palombina beach. Students captured snapshots of marine organisms and uploaded their observations to MINKA, revealing the presence of the invasive blue crab.

The second workshop, held on February 16th, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including local authorities, scuba divers, environmentalists, tourist business owners, and the general public. The workshop featured the ANERIS project, showcasing participatory technologies and emphasizing the crucial role of citizens in such initiatives. Additionally, the success of the BioMARató on the Catalan coast was presented as a case study, with potential for replication in Italy.

Highlighting the many benefits of citizen science, from increasing personal knowledge to promoting sustainable tourism, the workshops stressed the role of the MINKA platform in fulfilling these objectives. After a presentation, stakeholders explored Palombina beach, using MINKA to document various species. In just an hour, participants discovered several species of bivalves, algae, and the stunning sea slug Tethys fimbria, contributing to the ongoing monitoring of marine species and the creation of Operational Marine Biology products.

Read the original press release here:

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