💎 Idea

Tell us about your idea here. Explain the problem and how you're going to solve it.

Taking a boat trip is the best way to break the routine and return home refreshed. An added value is to bring tourists closer to the knowledge of the marine world, for example through sightings of marine animals. The problem, however, is that the service currently offered is limited. There are unsuccessful trips without sightings all too frequently, which are reduced to a simple boat ride, with an unsatisfied customer and considerable carbon emissions due to the search for the "best" route. Our goal is to help tour operators improve customer well-being, making the experience unique as well as more efficient and environmentally sustainable. Thanks to a priori designated routes, the probability of sighting is maximized and consumption and carbon emissions are reduced to a minimum.

The usability of the service we offer is aimed at everyone, both tour operators and private individuals, and can be extended to the whole national and international territory. 

Our idea is to create a free App to support whale watching and sport fishing, tourist activities that have recently gained relevance in our area. The S.E.A. (Scientific and Ecotourism App) aims to raise awareness among stakeholders about the protection of the marine environment and its biodiversity, focusing attention on marine fauna, through ecotourism and Citizen science. The outputs will be routes focused on the objective of boat trips, obtained through spatially explicit models through the processing of satellite data. The App will be presented and advertised on the main social media. It will be possible to add the real-time positions of sightings, so as to create a database to support future routes and an information network between the stakeholders who use the App. In addition, the map will indicate the places of natural and historical cultural interest in the area, so that the itineraries can be customized according to the type of experience that the customer requires. In order to increase knowledge and conservation of the marine environment, didactic-scientific explanations of the marine species typical of our seas and the environmental parameters that determine their presence will be provided.

The evolution of this project is the creation of a new and unique ecotourism offer in the Lazio region. We want to include in addition to the classic whale watching activity, the use of specific equipment for data collection (microplastics and noise pollution), direct listening on board the cetacean vocalizations via hydrophones, so as to make customers not only beneficiaries but an active part, identifying with the figure of the marine biologist. Activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and food and wine tastings may be included in the offer that will be personalized by the customer.

In order to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the possibilities, the most ambitious and innovative goal is to create a network for the use of products and equipment, developing a space for scientific sharing, open to individual researchers and public institutions, based on a regional and national network.

🛰️ EU space technologies

Highlight the data, information or signals you are using/intend to use in your idea. Include some information on how this brings value to your idea

The preparation of a spatial model of environmental suitability involves some evaluations, such as the choice of an appropriate data set in order to achieve the goal. We therefore consider the environmental variables collected mainly by Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service. We have chosen environmental variables such as:

  • the surface temperature of the sea
  • the concentration of chlorophyll in the sea
  • the concentration of nitrate in the sea
  • surface currents
  • the bathymetry

These variables were selected based on an assessment focused on ecological significance for the species. In particular, the sea surface temperature is highlighted in various studies as one of the most important environmental variables. Another fundamental variable is the concentration of nitrates, linked to the pollution of water resources, due in many cases to an excessive concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus used in agriculture, which thus affects the life of many organisms. Finally, the concentration of chlorophyll, phytoplankton and net primary production can be used to estimate the abundance of nutrition available for species such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and fish. All these variables are mainly influenced by surface currents and bathymetry.

🏖️ (Re)Visit Europe

Which of the 3 challenges are you solving (finding sustainable destinations, experiencing cities and cultures or exploring nature with care), and how does this make tourism more sustainable and digital?

Our Project responds to Challenge #3: Exploring nature with care. Our idea offers a unique and eco-sustainable opportunity to explore and learn about the marine environment, its characteristics, its state of health and what are the anthropogenic factors that threaten it. The scientific educational service makes the customer aware and sensitizes him on issues, such as the enhancement and conservation of local biodiversity.

Furthermore, although partially, this project also responds to the Challenge #1: Finding sustainable destinations and Challenge #2: Experiencing cities and cultures. By paying attention to the concepts of environmental sustainability, the established routes, derived from the analysis of satellite data, will reduce the carbon footprint, which instead occurs with hypothetical random routes. Moreover, the customer will be able to see maps with areas of interest on the App, so as to enhance the cultural heritage and natural attractions of the Lazio coastal territory, such as the Castle of Santa Severa, the Marine Protected Area of the Ventotene Islands and of the Secche di Tor Paterno.

💪 Team 

Tell us who is in your team, what role they have (e.g. coder/designer), and a 1-2 sentence bio.

The team will be composed of marine biologists, with different skills. The internal organizational structure is made up of three professional figures.

Ivan Farace, PAM (Passive Acoustic Mitigation) researcher, with a focus on the biology, ecology and acoustic voice communications of cetaceans, marine excursion guide and MMO (Marine Mammal Observer); with experience in the social media advertising sector.

Giada Giovani specializes in the study of the interaction of marine mammals and marine litter, with particular attention to macro/microplastic litter. She is a specialist in the economic sector and the reference market, with experience in the banking sector.

Chiara Mancino, PhD student in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology. Researcher in conservation biology, biogeography, with a particular focus on sampling methods and analysis of marine animals’ ecology and spatial distribution through the acquisition of satellite data.