A diverse group of stakeholders (local public authorities, scuba divers, environmentalists, tourist business owners, and the general public) gathered on the 16th of February in Ancona (member city) to perform a citizen science event engaged in the ANERIS project. This diversity is a reflection of the multi-benefits that citizen science can bring to a city and its citizens: from personal knowledge increase to gathering a collection of species one has seen during a walk on the beach, to getting information on rare species or invasive ones, going through educational and recreational purposes or promoting a sustainable tourism activity, or increasing the awareness or sense of belonging of citizens and reducing the gap of knowledge between the city and their seas. 

ANERIS project, on which MedCities is the partner in charge of bringing citizen science events to our member cities’ shores, and MINKA platform can help fulfill some of these objectives and contribute to increasing local knowledge and continuous monitoring of species. 

The first part of the event showcased the ANERIS project focusing on participatory technologies, in particular, the MINKA platform, managed by the ICM CSIC. As a case study, the  BioMARató and the impressive results obtained after its implementation on the Catalan coast were explained, highlighting its potential for replication on the Italian coast. 

Afterward, the participants surveyed the shore and started their trip with the MINKA platform by uploading their observations. In less than one hour’s walk, participants found several species of bivalves, algae, and the beautiful sea slug Tethys fimbria. 

This event was part of a wider debate regarding the protection and restoration of urban marine ecosystems and the threads and opportunities faced by our seas and littoral. This was discussed in the conference cycle “Il mare nelle cità”, celebrated in the Università Politecnica delle Marche as part of a series of events promoted by MedCities in the framework of Ocean Cities Network. The next event will take place in Mersin on the 1st of March, and the conclusions taking into account each one of the local contexts will feed the set of recommendations to be presented at the UN Oceans Decade Conference that will take place in Barcelona from 8 to 12 April.

The conference succeeded in elucidating the multiple interlinks between the urban environment, their seas and the need to consider all stakeholders and the trade-offs of their activities and challenges to plan measures to preserve the environment, valorize the coastal areas, and contribute to well-being and economic and social development. This rich mixture of stakeholders (including scientists, politicians, local and regional public authorities, the tourism sector, and port authorities) contributed to getting an overview of the sectoral challenges.

During the afternoon, a citizen science activity was organized in collaboration with the Life and Environmental Science Department of the University. The MINKA platform was introduced to the students highlighting the importance of having a continuous monitoring of marine biodiversity along the coast. After this brief introduction, there was a guided walk on the Palombina beach.

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