Students are coming from Cadiz, Toledo, Malaga and Valencia either to live a different experience or to meet other fellow students. But most of them have come to let their imagination run wild about the curiosity aroused by the sea. They comprise the first of the four groups of 28 students, who will be participating for a whole week in the 2012 Summer Science Campus –an initiative of the Spanish Foundation for Science & Technology with collaboration from the La Caixa Foundation. A total of 16 Spanish universities linked to the International Campus of Excellence will participate this year. All participants will be working closely with research groups in the Campus do Mar laboratories and will attend conferences. They will participate in leisure activities and even go on an excursion to Viana do Castelo where they will be doing fieldwork on the beach and will visit the Gil Eannes hospital ship.
This group of students coming to Vigo not only have excellent academic results but have also passed a tough selection process. Their deep interest in science came to light during the inaugural event when the Campus do Mar Director, Mr. Emilio Fernández, was questioned during his talk on the effect of climate change on the oceans by one of the summer campus participants, who asked him to confirm whether such change is produced as a result of CO2 emissions from human activities. “Yes. All mathematical models point to that”, said Mr. Emilio Fernández, who added that the present day CO2 levels practically double those present in the last 650,000 years, “a fact that cannot be attributed to natural processes alone”. The explanations given by Mr. Emilio Fernández provided details on the origin and objectives of the Campus do Mar whilst the Vice-chancellor of the University of Vigo, Mr. Salustiano Mato, delivered the welcome speech to the participants in the science campus to whom he assured “an unforgettable experience” and asked them to make the best use of such experience. He said that the university of Vigo would be their university during the week.
28 reasons to come to the Campus do Mar
His name is Pablo and he comes from Cádiz. His first option was the Campus do Mar right from the time he decided to submit his application for the selection process to participate in a science campus this summer. “I am from the coast and I have loved the sea ever since I was a “child”, said this boy who would like to seek out a living connected to the marine environment. María, who comes from Valencia, is not sure whether her job will be connected to the sea but is willing to enjoy this opportunity provided to her by this science campus. “This will be an enriching experience not only for what I will be learning here but also because of the opportunity to meet people”, she said.
Nieves is from Toledo and is especially interested in the application of technology in the marine environment. “I think my participation in this Campus do Mar science campus is going to be an interesting experience which may be influential for my future profession”, she said. In the case of Pablo from Malaga, it was the sea and the possibility of travelling away from home that made him come to the campus “and this despite already knowing Galicia and Vigo, but I wanted to repeat the experience in a different manner” he said.
Why study the sea?
This was one of the questions on which a great part of Mr. Emilio Fernández’s speech was based, and was directed to the summer science campus participants. He also stated that the Campus del Mar brings people together to work in a network with the aim of creating research, training professionals and generating instruments for companies to become competitive.
In order to illustrate the importance of studying the sea, the Director of the Campus do Mar highlighted the importance of studying climate change. ”We are living in a sea that is warming up and this has effects on species that live therein. An example of this is the increase in numbers of “trigger fish” over the past years and the decrease of local fish such as sole”, explained Mr. Emilio Fernández. Research into other less well known marine organisms, coastal planning and the search for new energy sources were other reasons given by the Director of the Campus do Mar for the relevance of studying the marine environment.