My name is Alejandra, and I am one of the three members of the BioManCO team.
Coastal ecosystems have been a part of my life since my childhood. Back then, the beach was a playground, where I spent every summer jumping around the waves. It is not something that I actively kept in mind while searching for potential careers, but during my BSc in civil engineering I felt immediately drawn by the coastal protection courses. I liked them so much that I decided to move from my home country, Spain, and do a joint MSc program in Coastal Engineering in the UK, Norway and the Netherlands.
While I was in the Netherlands I learnt about Building with nature solutions, and I experienced the same strong interest that I had felt for coastal engineering. Nature-based solutions seemed to give simultaneous solutions to several societal problems. For instance, we are worried about the acceleration of sea level rise, but mangrove forests have been keeping up with rising sea levels during thousands of years. Mangroves, and other coastal of ecosystems, also capture CO2 from the atmosphere (which reduces global warming). Plus, they are already present along hundreds of km of coastline. This seemed a very positive message within the context of millions of people vulnerable to climate change. I thus decided to pursue a PhD in mangrove restoration in BioManCO together with Celine and Silke.
During the last four years we have acquired a very eclectic set of skills. We have crawled around kilometers of mudflat, swam away from snakes (particularly Celine and Silke), turned hotel bathrooms into laboratories, rescued stolen instruments, learnt how to transport hundreds of kg of equipment all over the world, accidentally attached colleagues to measuring frames, … and learnt a lot about restoring mangroves. In this website we have shared some of the experiences and knowledge acquired during our project. We hope you enjoy it!