CIIMAR – Ocean Action


CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research – is a leading research and advanced training institution of the University of Porto, working at the frontier of Ocean Knowledge and Innovation. CIIMAR fosters an integrated approach to Ocean and coastal areas promoting the understanding and knowledge of Biological, Physical and Chemical dynamics of these environments and the impact of natural and human activities, aiming to unravel the links between these processes, grasp Ocean and ecosystems functioning and responses to Global Changes. CIIMAR uses knowledge-based approaches to promote the natural capital and the sustained management of marine resources through monitoring of ecosystems health, optimization of aquaculture, and biotechnological exploitation of the resources for environmental and human health applications. CIIMAR provides innovative solutions and products responding to current economic and societal challenges, including new drugs and marine products for industrial and medicinal needs, water quality, sustainable fisheries, preparedness for and mitigation of oil spills and other emergent contaminants, environmental monitoring & risk assessment, preservation of ecosystems services, ocean & coastal management and Ocean Literacy.


More than 8 million tons of plastic reach annually the ocean, causing very significant negative impacts on marine life, economic activities and human health (accumulation of contaminants in marine food). Plastic Sea project is part of the Ocean Action Campaign and invested in different communication tools to address and raise awareness of school community and general public about the problem of marine debris, particularly plastic waste in the ocean. The exhibition “A Plastic Ocean” spread three large sculptures constructed in partnership with ESAP (Artistic School of Oporto) with plastic discarded throughout different public noble spaces of Porto, Matosinhos and Gondomar cities. The sculptures depict different consequences of plastic debris on marine life and human health. An original theatre piece “Pearl in Plastic Sea” was developed to explore the marine litter problem and its consequences for biodiversity and the marine ecosystem by recreating the story of the little mermaid, an adventure fraught with danger due to the ever increasing garbage that reaches the sea. Plastic Sea project, financed by the EEA Grants, also included more conventional hands-on science activities and lectures in schools, beach cleaning activities and the translation and production of educational videos. All different communication methods aimed to encourage the critical reflection about this environmental problem of great importance and scientific complexity and the need to adopt environmentally responsible behavior by the population through the use of complementary, artistic and innovative approaches.


The objective of the Ocean Action project, coordinated by CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research – University of Porto), is to increase knowledge about the principles of Ocean Literacy and the impact of pollution at sea, as well as to promote good practices conservation of the marine ecosystem. In order to reach these objectives, different initiatives were developed to raise awareness with and for the School Community and the general public, among which the following stand out: – Lectures and experimental science activities in Elementary and Secondary Schools of the Greater Porto region; – Development and availability of experimental science protocols to carry out practical teaching activities in the classroom; – Production of a traveling exhibition on the subject of marine pollution; – – Beach cleaning actions with schools and other groups; – Production and translation of animation videos about ocean pollution; – Production of electronic games focusing on the problem of ocean contamination; – Production of large sculptures with recycled plastic and a theatre play about this problem, for exhibition in public places of the city of Porto and schools involved; – National competition for schools in the region and general public on the subject of ocean pollution, in the modalities of awareness panels, recycle art, photography and infography.


This project was funded by EEA Grants (European Economic Area) and is the result of the complementary applications of the “Ocean Pollution – Global Problem, Local Action” and “Plastic Sea” projects. The project is now being valorized by CIIMAR to continue to achieve more public through Exhibition development, lectures and activities in schools.

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