The state of the waters of the Mar Menor has been worrying for years. One of the main reasons? The excess of nutrients. That is why, since 2016, different initiatives have been carried out whose objective is to improve water quality. One of these initiatives consists of the use of oysters. Keep reading to find out how these bivalves contribute to saving the waters of the Mar Menor.
The initiatives of the institutions
The initiative to recover oyster populations in the Mar Menor began in 2016 with the aim of using bivalves for the bioextraction of nutrients in eutrophic ecosystems using the Mar Menor as a case study. The high filtration capacity of bivalves can serve to eliminate nutrients, the excess of which translates into a proliferation of phytoplankton, which is the basis of bivalves’ food. Different institutions collaborate in this initiative, such as the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM-CSIC), the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) and different centers of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography such as Vigo, the Balearic Islands, Cádiz and Murcia, among others. Different projects emerge from this initiative.
In the first project (RemediOS), funded by the Biodiversity Foundation, an experimental hatchery was developed to reproduce the Mar Menor oyster using water from the Mar Menor. In this project, oyster seeds are obtained.
The Resalar project
Resalar, the current project, arose with the main objective of restoring and recovering the Marchamalo salt flats, located at the southern end of La Manga del Mar Menor, for the production of salt in an artisanal way, maintaining and increasing biodiversity and conservation and recovery of natural vegetation. This project is financed by the Biodiversity Foundation and led by the ANSE foundation and in which WWF and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) participate.
The project will allow the continuation of the research promoted by the initiative to evaluate the possible contribution of the flat oyster to the improvement of the quality of the waters of the Mar Menor. This research is based on studying how oyster seed (generated in the RemediOS project) evolves under the conditions of a salt canal. An ecosystem (that of the saline) is used for the reproduction of this species in order to eliminate contaminants and improve the quality of the water of the Mar Menor.
While this restoration is being carried out, Salinera Española S.A. offers the use of the channels of the Salinas de San Pedro del Pinatar to start the experiment.
The role of OdinS in this project
Within the framework of the collaboration that has begun between ThinkInAzul of the IEO and ThinkInAzul of the Intelligent Systems and Telematics Group (GSIT) of the Universidad de Murcia It has been proposed to complement the study of the Resalar project with real-time monitoring of what happens in the canal.
This is the specialty of our company, so OdinS will install a multiparametric probe that will continuously record and send values of Chlorophyll, Turbidity, Salinity, Temperature, Depth, Dissolved Oxygen, pH and ORP.
These data will be received in a software platform developed by OdinS for subsequent exploitation, which will allow interpreting the oyster growth results based on the physicochemical variables of the water.
The availability of data in real time will help detect anomalies and generate alerts that serve to prevent the death of oysters.
Furthermore, with all this information it will be possible to generate a model that can simulate the growth of the oyster based on the measured parameters.
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