About the project
The aim of the Itinerary is to establish the culture of the New Bauhaus of the Seas at the University of Algarve and surrounding communities anchored in the coastal lagoon - the Ria Formosa. The Itinerary was developed based on an interdisciplinary project that brought together artists, managers and scientists around the preservation of an iconic species, the Seahorse - Hippocampus and its habitat, the marine prairies threatened by anthropogenic factors and climate change. In this reinvented place, citizens can share a reconciling attitude to the rights of marine nature.
(Projects funded - HippoSave Mar 2020; Alimar Marine litter action - Blue Fund)
New European Bauhaus Framework
The UAlg-HIPPOCAMPUS itinerary for seahorse conservation aims to reinvent the encounter and sharing with citizens, in situ, how:
i) it is possible to promote sustainability (with a focus on circularity) by using marine litter, especially plastics, to design works of art;
ii) to admire the beauty of marine diversity with the aesthetics of an iconic marine animal "The Seahorse" in Bordalo II's works "Big Trash Animals Collection";
iii) to enable everyone (students, locals and tourists) to access a simple itinerary, on foot or by bike, guided by QR codes, alerting to the endangered species in the Ria Formosa and the importance of marine biodiversity to the European Ecological Pact.
The Itinerary starts at the University of Algarve, the place where the knowledge about marine life is developed and extends for 8 km, crossing the natural reserve of Ria Formosa where the species whose habitat is threatened by human behaviour, not only due to the gear used for illegal fishing and then abandoned, but also by various debris of plastic matter that negatively affect the valuable area of prairie, a blue infrastructure for the absorption of CO2. This route is a truly interdisciplinary project elaborated with the participation of scientists from areas such as Marine Biology, Conservation, Engineering, Chemistry and Social Sciences and also with the effective contribution of non-governmental organisations such as Straw patrol, or governmental ones such as the Environmental Volunteers for Water (ARAalg-APA) which regularly organises coastal clean-up actions, during which marine litter is collected. The result we want to achieve is an increased awareness of the need to respect the rights of nature and an effective contribution to the European Ecological Pact. This will be achieved by encouraging a decrease in the use and disposal of plastic which will reduce CO2 emissions, directly and indirectly, given the potential recovery of seagrass beds, which also naturally absorb several tons of carbon in the Ria Formosa alone and are also indispensable habitats for the preservation of the seahorse.