ICTA-UAB economist Joan Martínez Alier wins the Balzan Prize for Environmental Challenges

Economist Joan Martínez Alier from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology  of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the winners of the 2020 Balzan Prize in the category of "Environmental Challenges: Responses from the Social Sciences and Humanities".

Indigenous People Essential to Understanding Environmental Change

An international research involving ICTA-UAB scientists shows how local and indigenous knowledge can help manage ecosystems and wildlife.

New publication in the MAGIC project takes a critical look at circular economy

With the world’s attention focussed on COVID-19, issues that were in the forefront of public concern just a few months ago seem to have magically disappeared.

Economic Benefits of Protecting 30% of Planet’s Land and Ocean Outweigh the Costs at Least 5-to-1

First-of-its-kind report involving ICTA-UAB researcher shows the global economy is better off with more nature protected.

ICTA-UAB awarded the "María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been accredited a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Proyecto experimental de agricultura urbana, local y tradicional en Sabadell

El ICTA-UAB y el Ayuntamiento de Sabadell constituyen la comunidad FoodE, que reúne a todos los actores implicados en el sistema de producción alimentaria de la ciudad y en esta iniciativa.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care


Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

Date: 2019-10-10

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans). The new projects aim at conducting research on sources of microplastics, methods for identifying smaller micro- and (nano-) plastics and monitoring their circulation in marine systems and their effects thereon.

Plastics in the marine environment have become a major concern because of their persistence at sea and adverse consequences to marine life. According to estimates from Eunomia (2016) between 27—67 million tons of plastic could be found in the world’s ocean as of 2016. Microplastic particles are by far the largest quantity of plastic pollution in the ocean. Microplastics are persistent environmental contaminants whose potential for physical harm and toxicity has been highlighted in various studies. However, knowledge and understanding about smaller microplastic particles (from 10 μm to even smaller particles - nanoparticles) is still limited.

The i-plastic project, conducted by Patrizia Ziveri and Michael Grelaud, is one of these five JPI Oceans projects that will embark conducting research on sources of microplastics and looking into analytical methods for identifying smaller micro- and (nano-) plastics. The projects will also focus on monitoring and mapping of microplastics in the ocean including its effects on the marine environment.

The i-plastic project aims to assess the dispersion and impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans, from the regional land-ocean interface to the open ocean. They will quantify the seasonal transport and dispersion in three selected estuaries (hotspots of plastic sources) and adjacent coastal waters and shorelines under distinct flow and climate regimes (i.e., tropical and temperate systems).

In-situ monitoring will be performed in the selected system of the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. The impacts on distinct commercially valuable species (as part of the human diet) from the target regions will be addressed through in-situ observations and laboratory experiments.

New approaches will be implemented to detect and characterize nanoplastics in environmental matrices (i.e.: water, short-term sediment trap, sediment and biota) and ascertain processes of macroplastic fragmentation. Finally, the data generated during the i-plastic project will be used to feed regional models for the dispersion of micro- and nano-plastics, which in turn will be used to elaborate a model of their dispersion at the Atlantic scale.

In this context, the project will provide missing knowledge concerning the fate of plastics in the ocean and the effects of smaller plastics on the ecosystems of different areas worldwide, by making projections to understand the impacts and dispersion of micro and nano-plastics in the next decades of the Anthropocene. The countries involved in the project are Spain, Portugal, Italy and Brazil.

This project is funded within the JPI Oceans program supported by H2020 CSA Ocean2. It is an intergovernmental platform that strives to increase the impact of national investments in marine and maritime research and innovation. 

Further information: here

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