Stories: Predicting socio-environmental evolution in highly anthropized coastal lagoons
A new EIC Pathfinder project, SMARTLAGOON, intends to develop a digital twin to build a systemic understanding of the socio-environmental inter-relationships affecting costal lagoons and their ecosystem.
SMARTLAGOON was selected among proposals submitted for FET Proactive Environmental Intelligence call (FETPROACT-EIC-08-2020), in subtopic A: in subtopic A: New techniques for modelling and predicting socio/environmental evolution across different temporal and spatial scales. The project works on an innovative modelling tool suited for coastal lagoons ecosystems.
Coastal lagoons are ecosystems with great environmental and socioeconomic value. At the same time, they are especially vulnerable to climatic and anthropogenic pressures, such as intensive agriculture and extensive urbanization, namely because of expanding tourism. SMARTLAGOON proposes a systematic tool enabling real-time monitoring, analysis and effective management of these vulnerable areas.
The SMARTLAGOON team specifies the aim of the project as following: “Our overall objective is to develop cross-cutting and green technology for modelling and predicting socio-environmental processes across different temporal and spatial scales. This will be achieved through a digital twin strategy that allows researchers, stakeholders and policy-makers to collect data in a more cost-effective way, and to create more precise models and predictions to support better decision making.”
As a case study, SMARTLAGOON focuses on the Europe’s largest salt water coastal lagoon, Mar Menor, located in the Iberian Peninsula, in south-east of the Autonomous Community of Murcia, Spain, near Cartagena. Mar Menor is unique ecosystem, partially protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. On the other hand, the area has been suffering serious environmental degradation due to several socio-environmental reasons, since the locality became a popular tourist destination and the water transferred from the Tagus River turned the agriculture of the Mar Menor into one of the most productive and profitable in Europe. These characteristics make it more than suitable for SMARTLAGOON research.
The project coordinator, Prof. Javier Senent, adds: "The SMARTLAGOON team is eager to start working and hopes that all the new approaches to be implemented in the project related to the monitoring and modeling of highly anthropized lagoons will help to make decisions that will allow the conservation and restoration of these ecosystems of high socio-economic and environmental value."
SMARTLAGOON is a 48-month project. It starts in January 2021 and will run until December 2024. Its Consortium consists of research and SME entities from Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Norway and Switzerland. The project is coordinated at Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM).
FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.