5th Fortaleza Austral Spring School

Marine ecosystems under pressure:

current issues and future challenges in pollution science

  • Date
    November 21-22, 2022
  • Venue
    Hybrid event

The 5th Fortaleza Austral Spring School is a free international training course, organized in response to the need for a better understanding of the impact of pollution in marine ecosystems and coastal communities. The course will present a comprehensive overview of the problem and provide best practices and harmonized methodologies for developing research to quantify and assess the level of pollution as a response to incidents and disasters. The event is organized by the Postgraduate Program in Tropical Marine Sciences (PPGCMT) together with The Institute of Marine Sciences – Federal University of Ceará (LABOMAR-UFC), Brazil and the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre). In addition, the event has the collaboration of other postgraduate programs.

Two main topics will be the focus of the school:

Day 1:  Fate and Impact of plastics in Marine Ecosystems. From the land to the sea

Day 2: Oil Spill Investigation and Impacts in Marine Ecosystems

What are the event goals?

By the end of this training school, participants will:

  • Understand the impacts of plastic and oil on the marine environment and coastal communities
  • Enhance their technical standards for sampling and analysis of plastic and oil in the environment
  • Identify current issues and global challenges on plastic and oil in the environment
  • Raise awareness of marine conservation and sustainable resource management
  • Obtain new knowledge of the topic covered

Who is this Training school for?

The 5th Fortaleza austral spring school is designed for a range of stakeholders, but will greatly benefit:

  • Undergraduate and graduate students
  • Maritime professionals
  • Plastic industry professionals
  • Oil industry professionals
  • Senior researchers interested in updates
  • Legal managers, policy-makers, representatives of the non-governmental organizations, and social entities
  • Administrators and civil servants faced with marine environment agenda

How will this Training school be presented?

Due to the unpredictable sanitary restrictions of the Coronavirus disease situation, the school is organized as a hybrid event that combines both online (Sessions 1 and 2, and the Side Event – Oral Presentations) and in person (Students Training: Field Activity and Laboratory Practice) participation experiences, providing opportunities for broad participation. At the moment it is possible to accept a maximum of 30 participants in person.



  • Day 1
    November 21, 2022

    Session coordinator: Dr. Tommaso Giarrizzo

    Chair Session 1: Dr. Rivelino Martins Cavalcante

    Chair Session 2: Dr. Raymond Ward

    Moderator: Luiza Costa Mello

  • Opening Ceremony
    11:20 UTC Time
  • Session 1 (online): Fate and impact of plastics in Marine Ecosystems. From the land to the sea (online)
    11:40 UTC Time – Talk 1

    Plastic Waste Trade from Global North to Global South as a Source of Marine Plastic Pollution | Dr. Sedat Gundogdu



    12:00 UTC Time – Talk 2

    Insights into the perceived persistence and photochemical fate of plastics in the ocean| Dr. Collin P. Ward

    12:20 UTC Time – Talk 3

    Plastic ingestion as an evolutionary trap | Dr. Robson Santos and Dr. Ryan Andrades

    12:40 UTC Time – Round Table
  • Session 2 (online): How to research plastic pollution (water, air, sediment, biotic components) (online)
    13:30 UTC Time  – Talk 4

    Monitoring microplastics: sampling methodologies for surface waters and benthic sediments | Dr. João Frias

    13:50 UTC Time  – Talk 5

    Monitoring microplastics in biota – challenges and recommendations | Dr. Filipa Bessa

    14:10 UTC Time  – Talk 6
    Beach litter survey by drones: operational framework and potential outcomes | Dr. Gil Gonçalves and Dr. Umberto Andriolo



    14:30 UTC Time  – Round Table
  • Side Event (online)
    16:00 UTC Time – Oral Presentations
  • Students Training (in person)
    17:00 UTC Time – Field Activity
    18:15 UTC Time – Coffee break
    18:30 UTC Time – Laboratory Practice
  • Day 2
    November 22, 2022

    Session coordinator: Dr. Laercio Lopes Martins

    Chair Session 1: Dr. Tallita Cruz Lopes Tavares Normando

    Chair Session 2: MSc. Gabrielle Melo Fernandes

    Moderator: Luiza Costa Mello

  • Opening Ceremony
    11:30 UTC Time
  • Session 1: Environmental effects and impact of oil in marine ecosystems and coastal communities (online)
    11:40 UTC Time – Talk 1

    Response of coastal fishes to basin-scale oiling | Dr. F. Joel Fodrie



    12:00 UTC Time – Talk 2
    Environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill | Dr. Jonny Beyer



    12:20 UTC Time – Talk 3
    Fundamental Social Dimensions of Marine Oil Spills | Dr. Liesel Ritchie



    12:40 UTC Time – Round Table
  • Session 2: How to research oil pollution (water, sediment, biotic components) (online)
    13:30 UTC Time – Talk 4
    Chemical assessments of marine oil spills – Concepts, tools, and case studies | Dr. Jagos Radovic
    13:50 UTC Time – Talk 5

    A pressing need to study the immediate fate and effects of oil spills | Dr. Christopher M. Reddy


    14:10 UTC Time – Talk 6

    Advances in Chemical Analysis of Oil Spills | Dr. Paul Philp


    14:30 UTC Time – Round Table
  • Side Event (online)
    16:00 UTC Time – Oral Presentations
  • Students Training (in person)
    17:00 UTC Time – Field Activity
    18:15 UTC Time – Coffee break
    18:30 UTC Time – Laboratory Practice


Affiliation: Cukurova University/Faculty of Fisheries

I’m a Marine Biologist working on marine plastic pollution at Faculty of Fisheries, Cukurova University, Turkey. My research primarily focuses on the field of plastic pollution – including microplastics. In my works, I draw upon an array of disciplines such as marine biology, chemistry, agricultural science, governance, stakeholder involvement, communication, perception, and knowledge about different regulatory bodies. On the other hand, acting as an activist-scientist, it is fundamental for conducting interdisciplinary research to use evidence gathered from scientific studies. My way of doing science allows me to make connections between different areas of science and to collaborate with an array of external partners. This also allows me to create effects on decision-makers. To date more than 20 peer-reviewed papers have been published in various scientific journals.

Title of the presentation: Plastic Waste Trade from Global North to Global South as a Source of Marine Plastic Pollution

Abstract of the presentation: After a couple of toxic disasters related to the waste trade in the 1970s and 1980s, the trade of hazardous materials came into the agenda of the international community. The toxic nature of this trade also led to the establishment of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal in 1989. Although the Basel Convention is an agreement to combat toxic trade, this trade continues to change its form. Plastic waste, which is costly to recycle, especially due to its material properties, has become the subject of this trade.

The increase in unsustainable production and consumption of plastic has supported the increase in the export of waste from Global North to Global South countries. Since 1988, billion tonnes of plastic waste have been exported from the USA, Japan and Germany to China. In 2018, China implemented its “National Sword” policy, effectively banning the import of most plastic waste in order to protect its environment and human health. As a result of China’s national sword, the trade of plastic has been diverted to new destination countries primarily in South-East Asia and countries like Turkey.

Illegal dumping and open burnings are now widespread in receiving countries and curbing environmental health, social wellbeing, and economic development. The countries that are the source of plastic waste are at the top of the rankings such as recycling and waste management, while the receiving countries are at the bottom! Receiving countries that can’t even manage their own waste yet continue to be flooded with plastic waste, which remains colonialist exploitation of developed countries’ plastic waste pollution.

Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, USA

Collin P. Ward is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He earned a BS and MS in Environmental Sciences from The Ohio State University, and a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of Michigan. Following his PhD, he spent two years at WHOI as a postdoctoral investigator before joining the scientific staff. He currently serves on the Early Career Editorial Board at Environmental Science & Technology. His research characterizes how and how fast sunlight and microbes alter the physical and chemical properties of organic carbon in aquatic ecosystems.  He works on a wide range of organic carbon types, including natural organic matter, crude oil, and plastics. His study sites span fresh and saline surface waters from the Alaskan Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico.

Title of the presentation: Insights into the perceived persistence and photochemical fate of plastics in the ocean.

Abstract of the presentation: Plastic pollution is one of the most visible and complex environmental issues today. One key assumption behind the issue and the public outcry is that plastics last indefinitely in the environment, resulting in chronic exposure that harms animals and humans. But the data supporting this assumption are scant. The first half of this talk will describe several eye-opening findings from a review of infographics that report the environmental lifetimes of consumer plastics. The second half of the talk will focus on the prevalence, pathways, and products of plastic degradation in the environment, with particular focus on sunlight-driven processes.

Affiliation:Universidade Federal de Alagoas

Associate professor in the Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde at Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Brazil. PI of the Marine Biology & Conservation Lab (LAMARC). A scientist with a wide range of interests, his research largely focuses on plastic pollution and sea turtles’ biology. In the last couple of years, he has spent more efforts on the understanding of the causes and consequences of plastic ingestion by wildlife. In his papers he has presented new ideas to the field featured in high-impact journals, such as Science, and in news (e.g. CNN, National Geographic and Scientific American).

Title of the presentation: Plastic ingestion as an evolutionary trap

Abstract of the presentation: Plastic ingestion is widespread throughout the tree of life, from zooplankton to elephants. More than 1500 species are reported ingesting plastics, and nearly all nodes of food aquatic webs are contaminated by plastics. After gathering a growing body of evidence showing the ubiquity of plastic pollution and its deleterious effects on living organisms, we have reached the point where a unifying explanation for plastic ingestion is needed. To answer the fundamental question of ‘why living organisms ingest plastic?’, we need to address this issue through an evolutionary and an ecological lens.

Affiliation: Atlantic Technological University (ATU)

João Frias is a marine litter and microplastic researcher working in this field since 2008. He is currently based in the Marine & Freshwater Research Centre in Galway, on the West of Ireland

Title of the presentation: Monitoring microplastics: sampling methodologies for surface waters and benthic sediments

Abstract of the presentation: This presentation will explore the diverse methods to survey microplastics from surface waters and benthic sediments, and how these can be used for monitoring efforts that contribute to environmental policies at the local, regional or national levels

Affiliation: Marine and Environment Sciences Centre, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Filipa Bessa is a biologist and researcher at MARE – Marine and Environmental Research Centre from the University of Coimbra (Portugal), with a background on Marine Ecology and a PhD in Biosciences from the University of Coimbra in collaboration with the University of Florence (Italy). Her current research focus is related with the assessment of the effects of (micro)plastic pollution on marine and coastal ecosystems with particular focus on biota. To this regard, she is involved in several national and European research projects and she is a member of the International Working Group “ Micro and Nano Plastics” in support of the European Commission Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). Coordinates projects related with innovative tools to detect and mitigate marine litter (UAS4Litter) and associated with citizen science (lixomarinho.app). In parallel, she is involved in several outreach activities and science communication initiatives (exhibitions, seminars and workshops) related with ocean literacy and plastic pollution.

Title of the presentation: Monitoring microplastics in biota – challenges and recommendations

Abstract of the presentation: Microplastic pollution is presently considered a high concern topic by scientists, policy makers, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations and the general public. Microplastics are highly widespread in all environmental compartments (e.g. air, water, sediments and biota) and increasing empirical evidence points towards potential negative effects on organisms, both at an individual scale and potentially at population and ecosystem level, as well as effects on human health. To understand the levels and effects of microplastics on biota, it is important to conduct risk assessment evaluations based on realistic microplastic concentration exposure scenarios which are targeted at identifying the effects of microplastics on species and ecosystems. Realistic data on exposures should derive from reliable monitoring data on the uptake and accumulation of microplastics in biota. Presently, there is sufficient empirical data available to underpin arguments to suggest species that could serve as suitable candidates for monitoring microplastics in the environment. Comparison of available data is still limited due to the use of different analytical methods and reporting units, nonetheless researchers have been providing recommendations and frameworks to surpass these limitations. In this talk we will discuss the current challenges and recommendations for setting harmonized protocols for monitoring microplastics in biota.

Affiliation: INESC Coimbra, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Coimbra, Polo 2, 3030 – 290 Coimbra, Portugal

Umberto Andriolo has a PhD in External Geodynamics. His expertise includes the development and applications of numerous remote sensing techniques for environmental monitoring. He has more than ten years of international research experiences both in academic and public institutions, with 25 publications in high-ranked journals.

Gil Gonçalves is a Professor at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra, where he teaches Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. His main research interests are in the areas of geospatial computer vision and geo-information extraction from remote sensing. He has published more than 100 papers in the most important international geomatics conferences and peer reviewed journals.

Together, Gil Gonçalves and Umberto Andriolo have developed the UAS4Litter project, which aimed at drawing up a drone-based framework (software and hardware) for mapping marine litter on beach and dunes.

Title of the presentation: Beach litter survey by drones: operational framework and potential outcomes

Abstract of the presentation: Drones have been recently adopted to survey and monitor beach macro-litter items abundance and distribution. The UAS4Litter project consisted in several experiences for operational litter surveys on three sandy beach-dune systems on the North Atlantic Portuguese coast.

The presentation introduces the general schematic framework for beach litter survey by drones, detailing each step required for the assessments. In particular, the presentation will show operational use of RGB and multispectral drone cameras for mapping litter on beach and dunes. Besides, it will describe the possible litter survey outcomes, which can improve our understanding of litter accumulation and dynamics on coasts.

Affiliation: UNC-CH Institute of Marine sciences

 Joel Fodrie, Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is an estuarine ecologist who studies the population dynamics of fishes and shellfish, as well as community ecology within coastal biogenic habitats. His research examines linkages between habitat and fisheries production, movement ecology (landscape to population connectivity scales), coastal marine food-web interactions and energy flows, and long-term population and community responses to natural and human-influenced perturbations. Dr. Fodrie earned his PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2006), his from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1999), and was a post-doctoral researcher at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. He has contributed ~100 peer-reviewed papers that explore mechanisms of population and community variability within coastal ecosystems. These articles appear in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology, and BioScience.

Title of the presentation: Response of coastal fishes to basin-scale oiling

Abstract of the presentation : Syntheses spanning diverse taxa and ecosystems are crucial for understanding the cumulative impacts of marine oil spills. A decade after the Deepwater Horizon spill, responses of coastal fishes to oiling have been studied at organismal through population levels, and there is a mismatch between consistent (neg) impacts detected among individual organisms and few/no measurable (neg) impacts among populations or fisheries sectors. I attempt to reconcile this contradiction and highlight knowledge gaps that should guide oil-spill research to assess ecosystem responses to basin-scale disturbance.

Affiliation: Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway

Jonny Beyer is a marine environmental scientist with speciality in biological effect markers (biomarkers) applied in ecotoxicological effect assessments and monitoring of various kinds of industrial pollution. Beyer has worked more than three decades in this field and has authored/co-authored about 150 scientific reports and articles, several of which have become internationally influential. He has broad experience as research project manager and as teacher and serve also as expert advisor to Norwegian environmental authorities.

Title of the presentation: Environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Abstract of the presentation: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DWHOS) in 2010 is history’s largest accident-related marine oil spill and constituted an ecosystem-level injury to the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM). This oil spill is also the most broadly investigated marine pollution disaster ever, with more than 100 new peer-reviewed articles published in international scientific journals each year (>2000 articles in total). In this presentation, an overview of the environmental research on DWHOS will be presented and some of the most significant results will be highlighted.

Affiliation: Professor, Department of Sociology; Associate Director, Center for Coastal Studies; Virginia Tech, EUA

Dr. Liesel Ritchie is a Professor of Sociology and an Associate Director of the Center for Coastal Studies at Virginia Tech. During her 30-year career, Dr. Ritchie has studied a range of disaster events, including the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills. Since 2000, her focus has been on the social impacts of disasters, including conducting social impact assessments. Her work emphasizes technological hazards and disasters, social capital, rural renewable resource communities, and resilience, and she has published widely on these topics. Dr. Ritchie has worked with agencies and organizations including NASA, NIST, NSF, USGS, FEMA, USDA, Feeding America, NOAA, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. From 2007 to 2018, she served as Associate Director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Ritchie has also been a National Institute of Standards and Technology Disaster Resilience Fellow, a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee for Measuring Community Resilience, and an Advisory Board member for the National Academies Gulf Research Program.

Title of the presentation: Fundamental Social Dimensions of Marine Oil Spills

Abstract of the presentation: There is a large and growing body of research on social impacts of technological or human-caused hazards and disasters. This presentation will begin with a short overview of studies on technological disasters in general, moving into more focused work on social dimensions of marine oil spills. It will highlight common issues found in empirical research, dating back to the Exxon Valdez oil spill through today. Topics covered will include social disruption in communities that have experienced spills, psychosocial impacts of such events, and long-term effects of oil spill disasters.

Affiliation: Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada

For more than 10 years, Dr. Radovic has been researching marine oil spills in coastal, open-ocean and deep-sea settings, including work on some of the largest oil spill cases, such as the Prestige tanker accident, and the Deepwater Horizon and Ixtoc-I blowouts. He participated in major national and international consortia that developed risk assessment methodologies for oil and chemical spills in European seas, studied the impacts of oil spills on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, and informed policy and strategies for oil spill preparedness and response in the Arctic. As a member of the Bonn Agreement Oil Spill Identification Network of Experts, Dr. Radovic contributed to the improvement of standardized oil spill fingerprinting protocol. His work has been showcased in numerous scientific conferences and publications; notably, he co-authored chapters in the reference books for oil spill forensics: “Standard Handbook Oil Spill Environmental Forensics (2nd Ed.)” and “Oil Spill Environmental Case Studies”. He holds a PhD degree in Environmental Analytical Chemistry from the University of Barcelona and currently is a researcher at the University of Calgary.

Title of the presentation: Chemical assessments of marine oil spills – Concepts, tools, and case studies

Abstract of the presentation: Despite the progress in marine technology and safety, spills related to exploration, production and transport of crude oil and petroleum products continue to pose risk to marine ecosystems worldwide.

Study of sources, fates, and impacts of marine oil spills is a complex task, complicated by processes of oil transformation and partitioning in marine environment. The presentation will highlight recent advances in oil spill science, that leverage new and conventional tools of analytical chemistry, in a cross disciplinary context, to achieve a more holistic spill assessment. This approach will be illustrated with examples from historic and recent spills cases.

Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, EUA)

For the past three decades, Christopher Reddy has researched marine pollution, chemical ecology, and the development of more environmentally friendly industrial chemicals. He is a senior scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Reddy’s overarching interest is learning how the ocean responds to human activities, simultaneously increasing scientific knowledge and answering questions of societal importance. He has studied major oil spills such as the Deepwater Horizon, ocean dumping, and plastics. Recently, he has provided guidance and advice on oil spills in Brazil (2019 to 2021); Russia (2020); Mauritius (2020); Delaware, USA (2020); Sri Lanka (2021); California, USA (2021); and Peru (2022). Reddy has published over 210 peer-reviewed manuscripts and holds 10 U.S. patents.  He has testified before the US Congress five times, written more than 50 opinion pieces on science and how science works, and given hundreds of interviews for print, radio, and television.  Reddy earned a BS in chemistry from Rhode Island College and PhD in chemical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.

Title of the presentation: A pressing need to study the immediate fate and effects of oil spills

Abstract of the presentation: After an oil spill, many petroleum hydrocarbon compounds fractionate rapidly into the atmosphere and water column.  Abiotic and biotic weathering can also occur within days of a release. These composition changes and transport into different environmental compartments directly affects the response and accounting for damages to the environment. However, we know considerably less about these “short-term’ processes relative to the persistence of oil in the long-term due to a wide range of logistical, personnel, and bureaucratic challenges. Here, I will present an overview on the short-term fate of spilled oil and how to increase the research in this topic

Affiliation: School of Geosciences, University of Oklahoma (USA)

Paul Philp has been an emeritus professor at the University of Oklahoma (USA) since January 2016. He was a professor of Petroleum Geochemistry at the University of Oklahoma  (1984 – 2015), principal research scientist at the C.S.I.R.O., Australia (1977 – 1984), associate researcher in Chemist at the University of California, USA (1974 – 1977), and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bristol, England (1972 – 1973). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, Australia (1972) and B.Sc. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1986). Paul Philp has research interests in Petroleum, Environmental and Forensic geochemistry with the emphasis on molecular and isotopic characterization of oils, gases, rock extracts, and contaminants for the purposes of source determination, characterization of depositional environments, biodegradation, correlation, and monitoring natural attenuation.

Title of the presentation: Advances in Chemical Analysis of Oil Spills

Abstract of the presentation: Characterization of spilled hydrocarbon products is essential to confirm the origin of the spill beyond any reasonable doubt and to monitor the fate and impact of the spilled hydrocarbons. Since the 1970s GCMS has been the major tool for characterizing crude oils and spilled products at the molecular level for such purposes. Major improvements and developments have occurred including utilization of 2D GC, a variety of novel ionization and mass separation processes that will be discussed in this presentation. In addition major advances have been made in methods for characterization of high molecular weight PAHs and hetero PAHs . These advances will be discussed along with the implications of their utilization in crude oil characterization.

Tommaso Giarrizzo (principal coordinator)

Laercio Lopes Martins (vice coordinator)

Fábio de Oliveira Matos

Luis Ernesto Arruda Bezerra

Antonio Geraldo Ferreira

Paulo Henrique Gomes de Oliveira Sousa

Rivelino Martins Cavalcante

Tallita Cruz Lopes Tavares Normando

Catarina Paes Duarte

Alexandre Medeiros de Carvalho

Francisco Gleidson da Costa Gastão

Rafael dos Santos Rocha

Raymond David Ward

Tallita Cruz Lopes Tavares Normando

Tatiane Martins Garcia

Wilson Franklin Júnior

José Luiz Moutinho

Gabrielle Melo Fernandes

– Lais Érika Granjeiro do Monte

– Luiza Costa Mello

– Tiffany Laura Januci Teles de Mendonça

Video Abstracts Side Event

Organizing Institutions

Technical and Scientific Support