B-CHARMED project brings information about the black coral forests of Lanzarote to more than 130 young students on the island

B-CHARMED project brings information about the black coral forests of Lanzarote to more than 130 young students on the island

Researchers of the project, associated with the University Institute ECOAQUA of the ULPGC, give informative talks to secondary school students about these peculiar marine ecosystems

‘Lanzarote has forests and they are under the sea' is the slogan of the informative action through which more than 130 secondary school students from four schools in Lanzarote are discovering the black coral forests, of unknown extension and centenary antiquity that are hidden to the naked eye in the seabed near Puerto del Carmen. These forests are still under analysis and study by the B-CHARMED project, led by the Atlantic Biodiversity and Sustainability Association (ABAS) and supported by LIFE Programme of the European Union (DG ENV), the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) and the French Development Agency (AFD), through the LIFE4BEST programme.

The project has the collaboration of the University Institute for Research in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC).

Francisco Otero-Ferrer, PhD in Marine Sciences and principal investigator of B-CHARMED, associated to ABAS and also to IU-ECOAQUA (Spain); and Lorenzo Bramanti, researcher at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) belonging to LECOB (France), are responsible for giving these 50-minute talks, which have been extended in several sessions in April and May. 

The talsks have already been attended online by 18 high school students from IES Las Maretas, 30 students between 16 and 18 years old from IES Playa Honda, as well as 39 students from 1st ESO and 1st Baccalaureate of IES Yaiza. Today, two new talks will be given at the IES Tinajo to 26 students in the 1st year of Bachillerato and 20 students in the 4th year of ESO.

The underwater black coral forests, located in the Lanzarote town of Puerto del Carmen, have a series of unique characteristics in terms of accessibility, extension and biological richness that make them an ideal natural laboratory for study. This is why the European project B-CHARMED, acronym of "The Black Coral forests as unexplored biodiversity Hotspots in the MAcaronesian Region: ecosysteM functions and sErvices analyseD", has chosen this locality as a model area to develop tools to map them and deepen the knowledge of their associated biodiversity.

In this context, the main objective of these talks is to bring students closer to research applied to the marine environment, while emphasising the enormous value of the natural wealth of the island of Lanzarote and promoting knowledge of the biodiversity of the island's marine environment and its conservation. To carry out this initiative has been supported by the Cabildo de Lanzarote through the Biosphere Reserve.

During the course, the students were able to learn more about the particularities of marine forests and, more specifically, about black corals and their habitat, as well as the methods used to study them, the organisms that cohabit them, their importance in the marine ecosystem and their main threats.

The teachers in charge of the students have not failed to express their satisfaction with the experience, which they have all agreed was "very interesting", highlighting its practical interest, as an example of important teaching content for each course, such as the study of invertebrates or coral reef ecosystems, through "a local ecosystem of great value and which the vast majority did not know about".

Such has been the interest aroused by the talk among students and teachers that the schools have already requested that once B-CHARMED has completed the results phase, they send them "a summary of the results and the conclusions obtained in order to discuss them in class and give continuity to the proposal".

Foto de los fondos de coral negro de Lanzarote de Fernando Espino (se ruega respetar la autoría)

 

Imágenes de las charlas impartidas en los institutos del IES Las Maretas, el IES Yaiza y el IES de Playa Honda (cedidas por los centros educativos)