Visit Portugal through science

Projecto comunitário que pretende juntar cidadãos, ciência e o gosto por viajar, descobrir e aprender

A community project that brings people, travelling and science together

Visit Portugal Through Science

Visit Portugal Through Science is a community project that aims to bring people, travelling and science together. Have you ever walked past a university or research institute and wondered what kind of research is conducted there and its usefulness or national and international relevance? Who are the scientists behind the discoveries? How did the Azores islands form? What species live in Mondego river? Are there coral reefs in Portugal? What are the colourful stripes on the Praia da Luz rocks?

The idea is to show the country in a different light, explained by science, and answer questions that sometimes are left unanswered because there is no information or an expert at hand. Maybe your next trip to the beach or even your commute to work  can be a different experience, after you’ve learnt something new about your surroundings.

The final goal is to put together a series of educational documentaries. Nevertheless, through everyone’s contributions, which will be shared via this blog, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, anyone can learn and, at the same time, contribute towards public knowledge.

There will be two phases to the project:

1 – Data collection (photos, videos and information)

Anyone who has questions, photos, information and especially videos can contribute. Please contact us through the contact form on this blog, we would love to hear from you!

It won’t be possible to offer financial rewards, but all materials submitted and used will be credited, not only on the documentary credits, but also on all other media where they are displayed. All knowledge acquired through this blog will obviously be free! If the project gets financed in phase 2, all contributors will receive a digital copy of the documentary episode(s) that feature their materials.

2 – Funding application though crowdfunding, UNESCO or similar entities/funding bodies

Once there is enough material and the number of episodes is decided, as well as their format and theme, funding will be necessary for filming, conducting interviews with experts, editing, animations, narration, promotion etc. This will be sought through crowdfunding and/or national and international entities who support this kind of initiative.

Here are some initial ideas for different episodes. These will take shape, evolve and change, according to the questions people would like to see answered and the audiovisual content submitted.

  1. Prehistoric animals and plants
  2. Contemporary ecosystems: animals, plants, microorganisms, different environments and specialised adaptations
  • Sea-dune-salt marsh transition
  • River
  • Estuary (salmon and European eel life cycle, etc.)
  • Ocean
  • Intertidal  zone (species and environment in subtidal, intertidal and supralittoral zones; how tides work, etc.)
  • Lakes
  • Ria (seahorses from Ria Formosa, bivalves, red tides, etc.)
  • Coral reefs
  • The chemistry of water
  • The physics of water
  • Cetaceans (resident and migratory species, differences between toothed whales and baleen whales, how echolocation works, etc.)
  • Sharks (differences between cartilaginous and bony fish; evolution of the different groups, etc.)
  • Invertebrates
  • Flora (differences between algae, marine and land plants; dichotomous key)
  • Aquaculture and fisheries
  • Land ecosystems

3. Geology of Portugal

4. Astronomy

5. Engineering

6 . Main Portuguese research centres and areas of expertise, as well as some results and impact

For now, the most detailed section is about aquatic environments, since this was my area of specialization. As the project progresses and more diverse contributions start pouring in, more detail will be added to other sections, as well as possibly other themes,  in order to balance content distribution.

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About the project coordinator:

Ana Verissimo did her first degree in marine biology, followed by an MSc in biotechnology and a PhD in the development of blood vessels during embryonic development and associated with tumours. She is currently an assistant professor in regenerative medicine in Japan, but Ana has always been passionate about science communication and scientific literacy. For this reason, Ana does many activities with schools and the general public. This time, she wanted to get people even more involved, so she created this project, that aims to bring the public closer to science, ask questions and learn more about the natural environment that surrounds them.