The University of Valencia (UV) is the outcome of more than five centuries of history that have led to the accumulation of knowledge and unique documentary treasures, making it one of the top Spanish universities. The UV has become one to the top five scientific centers in Spain thanks to the wide range of teaching and research activities offered in all areas of knowledge and its commitment to excellence.
The Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology (ICBiBE) headquarters resides in the Science Park of the UV. The Institute currently consists of approximately fifty staff researchers, along with a similar number of students of doctoral and postdoctoral studies, all grouped in more than fifteen research groups.
The Marine Zoology Unit (MZU) is a research group from the ICBiBE. The MZU research is concentrated on two main topics: conservation biology and parasitology (http://zoomar.blogs.uv.es).
Research on conservation biology at the MZU focuses mainly on cetaceans and sea turtles. Since 1988, the MZU has acted as the scientific authority monitoring strandings of cetaceans and sea turtles in the Valencian Region and hosts the Mediterranean Database of Cetacean Strandings. In addition, the MZU has been coordinator of a EU’s Natura 2000 Network study for identify MPA for cetaceans and marine turtles in Spain. We have carried out studies of aerial surveys to obtain population estimates and distribution data of marine megafauna.
Concerning Marine Turtles, the MZU has been working since 1993 in feeding, marine debris ingestion, genetics, fisheries interaction, parasitology, mostly on the loggerhead sea turtle, and in the study of reproduction biology, migration and conservation of marine turtles nesting in the Mediterranean and also Equatorial Guinea and Dominican Republic.
Participation of UV researchers in INDICIT will focus on the study of macro and microplastics in the digestive tract of sea turtles, helping in the development of sampling protocols, helping with more than two decades of data and expertise in marine debris ingestion.
The representative of the MZU for INDICIT is Dr. Jesús Tomás, invited member of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the IUCN, exmember of the Board of Directors of the International Sea Turtle Society and coordinator of the Marine Turtle Tagging Group for the Valencia Region.