From Portugal to the Arctic for experiments on thermal events effects on marine forest habitats

As part of the European “BlueForesting” project, financed by the EEA Grants Program, PhD student Sofía Hernández from the Benthic Ecology Team at CIIMAR, University of Porto, recently visited the Akvaplan-niva marine research station in northern Norway.

Akvaplan-niva’s marine research station provides state of the art experimental facilities (Photo: Akvaplan-niva)

Marine forests are amongst the most iconic coastal habitats, supporting rich biodiversity, with the capacity to deliver key ecosystem services and support blue growth. The visit to Akvaplan-niva is part of the BlueForesting project and Sofía’s PhD thesis entitled “ExtremeMarForest: Assessing the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of marine forest habitats to extreme thermal events”

Sofia came to teach and share experimental protocols developed at CIIMAR with the objective of estimating the thermal tolerance adaptive capacity of iconic kelp forest species through a series of standardized experimental studies. These techniques will be implemented across several study sites in Europe.

Laurids Nørskov Enevoldsen from Akvaplan-niva assists in preparing seaweed for the experiments (Photo: Sofía Hernández).

Photo: Sofía Hernández

The results obtained from these experiments will improve our current understanding of physiological processes and, consequently, species responses. They will shed light on how present-day communities will be structured after exposure to long-term, gradual, and extreme events projected under climate change. Additionally, the research aims to develop more efficient actions to protect the most vulnerable marine areas and ecosystems.”

More about the BlueForesting project: