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Portuguese biologist receives prize of 300 thousand euros to study the impact of …

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Portuguese biologist receives prize of 300 thousand euros to study the impact of ...

With the value of the FLAD premium, the sensors will be manufactured by the team and start working wirelessly, using NFC technology – “the same that mobile phones and ATM cards use to pay without contact”.

They will also be applied to the rocks, at three tide levels on each beach and facing both south and north, through holes made by drill. “It changed everything in terms of sensor resilience. We went from losses of 30% to 1%, or even that, and only in cases where the sensors themselves malfunction. We can, with great confidence, guarantee that 75% of these sites will still be collecting data 10 years from now – the batteries have that duration and the memory capacity has been extended to a year and a half. We have all the tools for this to be true and if this materializes it will be an absolutely fantastic and revolutionary thing in this type of networks ”, predicts the biologist.

Another of the things that will change is the way the work of collecting data, as well as the analysis of the biodiversity of the places, will be done. Once again, stresses Rui Seabra, all due to the technological development of the project: if until now the team members had to travel to the places, with all the constraints associated with the development of two applications, one to store the information from the sensors, another to catalog the species, ensure uniform results and reduce errors and inconsistencies, this work will be carried out by an international network of employees.

“The tablet application will make the collection of this data simpler – it is a procedure in which you arrive at the beach and place a 50 cm by 50 cm metal square and record the species that are within that square. This gives us measures of abundance, what species exist in a given place and in what quantity ”, he explains. “Biologists are usually very low tech, and some are even quite proud, but the truth is that there are very big limitations that arise from this. Usually this data is collected on paper, then someone has to digitize that data, which goes through endless sheets and sheets of records of what was there at a certain time, in a certain square, on a certain beach, on a given day. Then he goes there for a while and does the same again. Invariably, as it is a very tedious job, seniors leave this to students to do and what is constantly happening is that the data has many errors. ”

To minimize human error and keep work accessible, the biologist decided that he will focus the analysis only on the key species of each location – “On the Portuguese coast, for example, it will be mussels, barnacles, limpets and, inside algae , fucus and laminaria ”. The computer application, he explains, should help to ensure the rest: “When doing biodiversity surveys, one thing that is an enormous difficulty is to remember on the beach, sometimes with bad weather conditions or with the tide rising, of all the distinctions of each of the species that we are seeing. It takes enormous training and yet there are many mistakes. This application, knowing that species A probably does not exist in Canada, if registered by someone in that location, will immediately say: 'Are you sure you saw this species A? It’s not supposed to be there ’. If the user is sure of what he / she is doing, click on ok and stay registered, otherwise he / she has essential feedback right on the beach. It is much more difficult to resolve this type of incongruence when you return to the laboratory ”.

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