IQS and ONA Futura Engage in Joint Research on Seabed Regeneration
On 16 February, the framework collaboration agreement between IQS and the Ona Futura Foundation was signed with the aim of carrying out joint scientific development projects and studying their environmental and social impacts. The signing took place at the IQS campus, and was attended by Dr Salvador Borrós, Director of IQS, and Dr Imma Farran and Ms Marina Barrau, President and Vice President of Ona Futura, respectively.
The Ona Futura Foundation is a private, non-profit organization engaged in environmental, cultural, and educational action. It was launched in the tourism sector with the aim of promoting activities to protect and regenerate the sea, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean. Its commitment is based on pursuing a Strategic Plan that is focused on producing projects with a high environmental impact, contributing grants and scholarships to research, and promoting new solutions with sustainability at their core. Among its principles of action are strategic alliances with other entities, transparency, innovation, community ties, and environmental impact assessments.
Within this collaboration framework, the first project to be carried out will be Development and validation of new systems for the protection and regeneration of marine biodiversity – BioTop. Its main objective is seabed regeneration in specific areas of the Mediterranean through installing structures that have been developed with sustainable materials and high biological effectiveness, using advanced manufacturing techniques. At IQS, the project is being led by Dr Marco Antonio Pérez, coordinator of the GAM (Applied Mechanics and Advanced Manufacturing) research group within the IQS School of Engineering.
As Dr Farran stated, this collaboration involves “combining science, entrepreneurship, and resources to make a reality out of a project that not only regenerates what has been damaged, but also has a positive impact on the marine ecosystem.”
Why is it necessary to regenerate damaged seabed?
The impacts of tourism, industrial development, and human activity have caused an accelerated degradation process along the Mediterranean coastline. The consequences are most brutally evident in the Mediterranean’s beach areas and on its seabed. Beaches form complex, dynamic, and fragile systems that bring undoubted ecological and economic benefits to society. Despite this, these coastal degradation and regression processes impede the normal functioning of coastal ecosystems.
Over the last decade, various scientific initiatives have been promoted that have made it possible to initiate systematic studies of these ecosystems to determine their conditions and dynamics. The results show that it is necessary to change the coastal management paradigm and develop new strategies to preserve and promote the regeneration of marine biodiversity.
The collaboration between IQS and Ona Futura is focused on the development, manufacture, installation, and validation of bio-inspired structures with sustainable materials that act as Nature-based solutions (NbS) and facilitate the active restoration of marine ecosystems in a way that contributes to addressing climate change, one of the main challenges facing society.