IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) researchers will study the effects of the river Moulouya on the coastal ecosystem of Morocco
The event will start with a series of seminars in Tangier on January 31 and February 1
Mallorca, 30 de enero de 2012. A team of researchers from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB) is leading a pioneering project involving Morocco and Spain to study the influence of water from the river Oued Moulouya on water quality as well as the biogeochemical characteristics of the Moroccan coast.
The objective of this scientific project, funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation is to know the environmental status of the river delta area in order to identify the critical points. The improvement of such points will promote the sustainability of coastal activities and economic development in the region –through, for example, fisheries, shellfishing and tourist activities.
In addition to the scientific objectives, the main purpose of the QueMoMar project “focuses on the transfer of technical knowledge to researchers and environmental managers of the Kingdom of Morocco. The cooperation project is developed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and will result in increased local capacity for the study and monitoring of two key aspects of the quality of coastal waters: coastal currents modeling and the analysis of trace elements in continental and marine waters” explains Dr. Antonio Tovar (IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB).
The first session of knowledge transfer will take place in Tangier during a workshop that will involve researchers from Morocco, Spain, and the United States.
The management and conservation are essential for coastal sustainability
Coastal areas are key for the progress of developing countries, because these areas typically represent economic activity nodes that attract large population densities. The growing awareness of all countries, including those in the Mediterranean basin, regarding the quality of coastal waters has been reflected in the progressive development of treaties and national laws that regulate the quality of these waters with a growing demand level.
In order to efficient and scientifically tackle the problems related to management and environmental monitoring in coastal and marine waters, it is necessary to characterize the different environmental compartments (mainly water and sediments) through the analysis of biogeochemical parameters.
“Unfortunately, most coastal studies focused on characterizing and/or to determine the costal environmental quality base their conclusions on nutrients analysis and sporadic microbiological parameters, regardless of metal composition and the interactions between environmental compartments”, says Tovar.
Thus, the Marine Chemistry Laboratory at IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), one of the few research groups in Spain able to analyze trace elements in sea water, will explore the Moulouya Oued mouth and wetlands. This area has biological and ecologial interest, influences large part of the southwestern Mediterranean, and is considered as ROFI area (fluvial influence region). However, the Oued Moulouya basin is one of the most unknown areas.
Moroccan researchers the from National Research Institute on Fisheries Resources (INRH) also cooperate in the project, together with researchers of the Abdelmalek Saadi University (UAE), the Moulouya Hydraulic Basin Agency (ABHM), and the universities of Cadiz (UCA) and southern California. (USC).