It is super exciting to see our project RESTORESEAS showcased in the new Brazil exhibition at the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHMW)! This exhibition explores 200 years of historical relationships between Brazil and Austria, with a strong emphasis on zoological and botanical objects collected in the early 19th century.
The Brazil exhibition provides an overview of the coastal marine ecosystems (amongst other biomes) in Brazil, highlighting the relevant ecological roles of marine forests, their biodiversity, conservation state and threats. Overfishing, coastal construction and deforestation, as well as climate change, are presented as the main threats to the Brazilian marine coastal ecosystems.
But there is also room to present solutions, and this is where RESTORESEAS takes the spotlight. The exhibition briefly introduces the project objectives and presents it as an example of the ongoing collaboration between scientists in Austria (from NHMW) and Brazil (from Federal University of Santa Catarina and Federal University of Espírito Santo).
In the context of the opening of the Brazil exhibition, Prof. Paulo Horta from Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) paid a visit to NHMW and the local RESTORESEAS team and took part in several activities related to the opening of the exhibition. During his interaction with the media, Paulo Horta highlighted the current climate crisis and the urgent global attention needed to the role of marine forests. He referred to the combination of climate and environmental crisis and how this is already feeding social and economic collapse that may affect us all: “Despite all warnings and signs that our surrounding environment is critically affected by our industries, we keep exploiting and using Nature as if it is solely a source of goods and benefits”. Paulo said, “we have a bomb in our hands and we keep adding gunpowder to the already burning wick”. However, “there is still a window of opportunity to mitigate the impacts and provide adaptation to new environmental extremes”.
Marine forests are a necessary partner in our struggle to avoid catastrophic impacts, as they provide essential benefits: they produce oxygen, filter the seawater, they are carbon sinks, and their management can provide different biotechnological applications such as biofertilizers and cosmetics. Showcasing the RESTORESEAS project in the Brazil exhibition at NHMW will hopefully contribute to bring awareness about marine forests and the need to conserve and restore these unique ecosystems.
More about the exhibition (in German): https://orf.at/stories/3269758/
Written by: Pedro Frade and Maria Pinto