AOML scientists lead water quality and biodiversity workshop in São Paulo, Brazil

NOAA affiliated scientists led a water quality and biodiversity workshop in São Paulo, Brazil, meeting with local leadership to discuss new plans for the sustainable management of an increasingly vulnerable coastal region.

Scientists from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), and the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI), recently led a workshop in São Paulo, Brazil focused on identifying pathways for the integration of water quality and marine biodiversity observations to support decision-making in the State of São Paulo. 

The event was held at the U.S. Consulate General of São Paulo and involved collaborations with the Secretary of Infrastructure and Environment (SIMA), as well as other groups from government agencies, academia, third sector (volunteer/civic) institutions, and private sector.

Caption: AOML/CIMAS/NGI scientists standing with the participants of the biodiversity workshop in São Paulo, Brazil November 29th and 30th. 

“São Paulo is now starting to look at the oceans more closely, with the intention of moving forward. We want to deepen programs to monitor biodiversity, mangroves, sandbanks and recover ecosystems. It is an opportunity for scientific knowledge and we need to be together because this is a global challenge”

– Rodrigo Levkovicz, director of Fundação Florestal

This workshop represents the first steps of cooperation between SIMA and NOAA.This collaboration will help the State of São Paulo, an area with a vast coastline and 15 coastal municipalities, to collect more quality data in order to influence environmentally conscious municipal and regional planning. 

Scientists from AOML presented on a variety of important topics. AOML/CIMAS scientists Kelly Montenero and Willem Klajbor presented on ecosystem and climate indicators for science-based decision making. They discussed indicator criteria, selection, assessment, and how to apply these topics to conservation goals and objectives. AOML/CIMAS scientist Dr. Enrique Montes discussed his work with Marine Biodiversity Observation Network Pole to Pole of the Americas, and AOML/NGI researcher Dr. Luke Thompson touched on his work on biodiversity monitoring using eDNA technology. 

“Degradation of marine ecosystems is a problem that threatens the livelihoods of billions of people around the world, and especially of those from emerging economies. Recovering marine habitats and species populations is only possible if we understand what is causing them to degrade. This unavoidably requires implementing sustained biological and environmental observations that follow international standards. The collaboration between SIMA and NOAA is a critical step toward this goal”

– Dr. Enrique Montes, AOML/CIMAS Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division scientist

Caption: AOML/CIMAS/NGI scientists and SIMAS colleagues exploring (and enjoying) the coastal region of São Paulo, Brazil.

Following the workshop, AOML and its partners established a list of objectives they wish to accomplish in order to reach their sustainability goals. The first step will be to establish a library of data inventory for ongoing monitoring programs in the region. Having an organized system for ongoing monitoring will allow partners in São Paulo to better understand their research, leading to more efficient management strategies. Other important next steps include: holding a mapping exercise to identify observation hotspots and gaps as well as ocean uses and pressures, select a suite of indicators fitting the criteria or stakeholder needs, and plan for the use of ‘omics technologies, such as the AOML developed SASe device, to enhance monitoring and understanding of biodiversity in this coastal region.