National R&D


Reduce pressures, restore and regenerate the NW-Portuguese ocean and waters

Principal Investigator
Team Leader

Ana Paula Mucha has a Degree in Aquatic Sciences (1993), a MSc in Ecology, Management and Modelling of Aquatic Resources (1997) and a PhD in Aquatic Sciences (2002). She has a research position at CIIMAR, University of Porto, Portugal, being member of the Board of Directors and the Principal Investigator of the ECOBIOTEC Team (Bioremediation and Ecosystems Functioning).

Also, she is an Invited Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology of Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto. She focuses her research on the relation between microorganisms and contaminants, aiming the development of bioremediation technologies for ecosystems recovery and environmental sustainability. She also explores the microbe-plant associations for the development of nature-based solutions for water management, and the microbe-animal interactions to increase environmental sustainability of aquaculture production.

She authored ca. 90 SCI papers including high profile journals in the field of Marine and Environmental Sciences. She has been involved in multiple regional, national and international projects, and presently coordinates CIIMAR participation in the European project “BIOSYSMO – BIOremediation systems exploiting SYnergieS for improved removal of Mixed pOllutants” (GAP-101060211). Also she coordinates the project “Ocean3R – Reduce pressures, restore and regenerate the NW-Portuguese ocean and waters” (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000064), and the Research Line 4 (Marine biobanks as tools for marine biotechnology) in the structured program of R&D ATLANTIDA – Platform for the monitoring of the North Atlantic Ocean and tools for the sustainable exploitation of the marine resources” (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000040). In addition, she has been involved as supervisor in several national and European Master and PhD programmes, and presently she co-coordinates the FCUP team responsible for the M2ex-European Joint Doctorate “Exploiting metal-microbe applications to expand the circular economy” (European Union; Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 861088).


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OCEAN3R will be implemented by CIIMAR, a research centre from the University of Porto that works at frontier of knowledge and innovation. The project aims to contribute to the Mission area “Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters”, at a regional and global level, through the development of solutions to reduce anthropogenic pressures on marine and freshwater ecosystems, and to restore and regenerate degraded habitats along the NW-Portuguese coast.

To achieve this, OCEAN3R will embrace the three thematic objectives of the Mission area (zero pollution; regenerating marine and freshwater ecosystems; decarbonising our ocean and waters) that will be supported by two transversal objectives (filling the knowledge and emotional gap, revamping governance). Zero pollution will be explored through RL1, that will tackle the three major sources of pollution in the NW Portuguese coast: (i) eutrophication (as a result of excessive enrichment of water by nutrients); (ii) discharge, loss and leakage of contaminants (either persistent pollutants or emerging ones) originated not only from land-based sources, but also from sea-based activities; and (iii) marine litter (found on beaches and coastlines, on the sea surface as well as on the seabed). RL2 will combine three actions focused on improving knowledge and developing new approaches for regeneration of degraded habitats in NW-Portuguese coast line: (i) novel approaches to aquatic species’ assessment – Genetics & Genomics; (ii) assessing conditions and dynamics of aquatic habitats; and (iii) solutions for habitat restoration and regeneration. RL3 will focus in four main actions for the development and application of strategies to decarbonise the NW-Portuguese ocean and waters: (i) foster a carbon neutral fish production; (ii) promote the increase of diets based on fish to reduce carbon footprint; (iii) clean up the ocean by using algae for carbon fixation; and (iv) develop new technologies for production of green energy. Underpinning the scientific activities developed within the three research lines (RL1, RL2 and RL3), OCEAN3R will implement different initiatives and programs targeting data sharing, citizen engagement and governance, including activities related with marine habitats monitoring, restauration and protection activities, promoting ocean literacy as well as blue education and citizen engagement. These activities will be organized with the aim of producing effective outcomes in: (i) foster scientific data access and transparency; (ii) connect and motivate citizens to actively contribute to actions related with marine habitats protection, restauration and new knowledge; (iii) educate and training youth for upskilling a new generation of a blue knowledge; and (iv) to strength regional and national governance framework for a sustainable NW-Portuguese ocean management. These transversal activities are particularly relevant to achieve one of the main societal outcomes outlined in the Strategic Approach for the Decade, of the Roadmap for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development: A transparent and accessible ocean whereby all nations, stakeholders and citizens have access to ocean data, information and technologies, and have the capacities to inform their decisions.
OCEAN3R will allow CIIMAR to increase its scientific excellence and reinforcing its enrolment in international R&D networks. OCEAN3R is strongly aligned with the National Strategy for the Sea 2021-2030 (ENM2030) and particularly with the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of Northern Portugal (RIS3) promoting the Northern Portuguese region development.



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