Tainá Fonseca and Maria João Bebianno from CIMA, Centre for Marine and Environmental Research, win the 2022 Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award.

The winning project, entitled OneHealth, envisages to identify and better comprehend the interactions between the growing environmental issue of marine pollution caused by pharmaceutical compounds and the foreseen climate change scenario. The project has gathered data for making scientifically based predictions and to shed light on how marine chemical pollution affects not only the health of marine life but, also, our health.

Every medicine that we take is absorbed in our organism to exert its therapeutic effect, being further excreted from the body. Once going down the toilet, medicines start another journey through the municipal waterways towards wastewater treatment plants, which are not efficiently designed to remove these complex chemicals. In this sense, as every other pollutant that we produce and discard, pharmaceuticals are constantly and globally reaching their ultimate repository: the Ocean.

Along with that, ocean acidification and the increase of seawater temperature due to climate change may jointly disrupt the availability of medicines to which marine species are exposed, potentially leading to a higher accumulation of pharmaceuticals in edible tissues of commercially relevant seafood species. And what goes around comes around: pharmaceuticals end up on our plate, potentially producing cellular effects in our cells after the dietary intake of a “drugged” clam or mussel.

The innovativeness and relevance of this project impressed the jury, making the post-doctoral researcher and coordinator of CIMA (Centre for Marine and Environmental Research) take home the 2022 Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award trophy, as well as a €5,000 check for the exemplary work to promote the health of our ocean and marine life.

After receiving the prize, Tainá Fonseca said: “It is encouraging to find initiatives like the one created by the Mirpuri Foundation, that acknowledges, recognizes the relevance and provides financial support to the scientific community developing research on Ocean conservation.”She added: “The life on our planet depends on a healthy and clean Ocean, and 2022 is the year to call for greater ambition of governments and heads of State and to cooperate at all levels to halt the global emergency facing the Ocean, otherwise, it can be late. Such distinction will potentially create opportunities for me to disseminate the outputs from my research to the non-academic community, expand collaboration across multi-sector stakeholders aiming to create, together, strategies and solutions to tackle marine pollution based on scientific data.”

Receiving an Honorable Mention this year are the posters of Afonso Ferreira et al. (PhD student and researcher at MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre), Ana Sofia Lavrador (PhD student and researcher at CBMA – Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology) and Maria Bôto (PhD student and researcher at CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research).

A group of best applications was also selected by the jury and exposed during the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, in an effort to raise awareness of marine conservation problems and potential solutions.

The Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award was launched in 2021 and is a prestigious international sustainability award that aims to recognize excellence in the scientific community and reward innovative projects that contribute to the health of our oceans.

 

Full list of results:

Winner

– Tainá Fonseca & Maria João Bebianno

 

Honorable Mentions

– Afonso Ferreira et al.

– Ana Sofia Lavrador

– Maria Bôto (SpilLess team & BIOREM team)

 

Best Applications

– Amélie Simon

– Ana Reis

– Carolina Balbino et al.

– COACH

– Joana Castro et al.

– Joana Xavier et al.

– João Duarte

– Laurina OMS et al.

– Manuel Vieira et al.

– Marisa Gomes & Regina Neto

– Marta Correia-da-Silva & Madalena Pinto

– Miguel Gandra

– Miguel Semedo

– Olga Azevedo & Emilio Sperone

– Pauline Le Coq et al.

– Rafaela Perdigão et al.

– Rui Sousa et al.

– Vanessa Morgado et al.

See the posters:

Winner: Tainá Fonseca & Maria João Bebianno

Honorable Mention: Afonso Ferreira et al.

Honorable Mention: Ana Sofia Lavrador

Honorable Mention: Maria Bôto (SpilLess team & BIOREM team)

Amélie Simon

Ana Reis

Carolina Balbino et al.

COACH

Joana Castro et al.

Joana Xavier et al.

João Duarte

Laurina OMS et al.

Manuel Vieira et al.

Marisa Gomes & Regina Neto

Marta Correia-da-Silva & Madalena Pinto

Miguel Gandra

Miguel Semedo

Olga Azevedo & Emilio Sperone

Pauline Le Coq et al.

Rafaela Perdigão et al.

Rui Sousa et al.

Vanessa Morgado et al.