Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena and the company Laboratorios Munuera are going to carry out a bionomic mapping of the Port of Cartagena in a new project of the Inter-University Chair of Environment Port Authority of Cartagena – Campus Mare Nostrum.
They will use robotic and sonar technologies to draw up an inventory of the species and communities in the biotope under study, areas with depths of up to 30 metres, and will integrate the results obtained in geographic information systems (GIS) to facilitate the Port Authority’s environmental management in conservation work, monitoring and predictive growth models.
The research is a first step towards planning future posidonia planting areas and will also be used to find out if there are invasive species. It forms part of the digital transformation as a smart port or port 4.0 and of the Port Authority’s efforts to consolidate itself as a sustainable port.
The researchers will carry out sampling through the deployment of various sonar technologies, obtain sonar mosaics of the seabed, analyse the hardness of the sub-bottom, deploy unmanned vehicles to obtain videos and underwater photography and, through post-processing techniques, identify the characteristic species of the study area, focusing on Port Water Management Unit (UGAP) 2, as it is the most prone to the growth of posidonia.
The research is led by Antonio Guerrero González, lecturer in the Department of Automation, Electrical Engineering and Electronic Technology and head of the Automation and Autonomous Robotics Division of the IEER research group. The electronic engineer Juan Carlos Molina, as well as Alberto Echeita, a consultant for Laboratorios Munuera with extensive experience in environmental management projects, will also take part in it.
The chair of the Port Authority is also funding two other environmental projects this year, the study of fish population in mesophotic rocky bottoms and the modelling of the dynamics of arsenic and mercury contamination, which will be carried out by researchers from the University of Murcia, José Antonio García Chartón and Salvadora Martínez López, respectively.