In 2001 the Ria Formosa was the area with the largest population of seahorses in the world. Nowadays, seahorses are in danger of extinction due to several factors, where current studies show a decrease of 90% of the populations.
These marine animals are threatened by several factors ranging from illegal harvesting for export to the Asian market, accidental fishing, climate change, and habitat deterioration. The two species H. guttulatus and H. hippocampus live in the seagrass meadows of the Ria Formosa, where they hang onto the macroalgae that are now slowly recovering from their decline.
Our researchers work with authorities and institutions, both national and international, to support decisions that lead to the conservation of these species and the sustainable management of their habitats. To do this, they provide data and scientific evidence that help assess the status of the populations of these species and identify mitigation measures that can be implemented.
This work has contributed to the creation of two marine protected areas in the Ria Formosa, which will provide shelter for seahorses, and a safeguard plan for seahorses in the Ria Formosa - Delimitation of refuge areas, designed in collaboration with the National Maritime Authority - Capitania do Porto de Faro e Olhão - and the Direção Regional da Conservação da Natureza e Florestas do Algarve.
- 2020-2021: HIPPOSAVE “Plano de ação para a recuperação das populações de cavalos marinhos da Ria Formosa – Financed by the MAR2020 operational programme
- 2017-2021: HIPPONUTRE “Cultivo do cavalo marinho de focinho comprido, Hippocampus guttulatus: Optimização zootécnica e avaliação de requisitos nutricionais” – Financed by the MAR2020 operational programme
- Sul Informação - Conservação dos cavalos-marinhos da Ria Formosa debatida em Olhão
- Algarve Primeiro - CDS quer implementação de medidas urgentes para proteção do cavalo-marinho na Ria Formosa
- Barlavento: Cavalos-marinhos vão ter dois santuários na Ria Formosa
- Barlavento: Ministra do Mar elogia projeto da UAlg e promete avanços nos santuários dos cavalos-marinhos
- Expresso: Cavalos-marinhos da Ria Formosa podem ter refúgios com videovigilância em 2020