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Taxonomy

The Phylum Porifera has more than 9000 species with records in almost all marine ecosystems. However, most of these records concern in the coastal and continental shelf while the deep-sea species remain underestimated in number and diversity.

My priority is to investigate the biodiversity of deep-sea sponges around the world. With special attention given to the Atlantic Ocean, describing new species, new records and analyzing species diversity.

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Systematics

Systematics englobes taxonomy (describing species) as well as to recover the relationships between species, or in other words, to investigate their evolutionary history. Correlating genetic information with morphological features and their areas of occurrence is relevant to a better understanding of their delimitation as an entity, their habitats and their complexity.

So, studying species evolutionary traits is a way to complete our understanding of biodiversity on Earth.

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Biogeography

Biogeography is a multidisciplinary science which aims to understand the distributional pattern of biodiversity on Earth and its evolutionary history. Biological diversity is understood as the outcome of life history on Earth expressed through time and space. Biogeography studies such diversity on a spacio-temporal scale of the Earth.

In the oceans, organisms are divided into pelagic and benthic ones, the same approach being used in marine biogeography. Sponge and most marine biodiversity  is found in the benthic environment and the geomorphology and environmental conditions of such environments influence them and their distributional patterns.

 

There is a strong correlation between the study of biodiversity and our ability to understand their distributional pattern in the ocean as well as the biogeography of e.g. sponges on the ocean basin scale. Therefore, my primary aim here is to understand the distributional patterns of deep-sea sponges as well as to infer general patters of deep-sea benthic fauna.

Biodiversity & Conservation

Deep-sea environments are being eyed for exploitation, though biodiversity assessment in those areas is very incipient. It is urgent to know the species that make up deep-sea marine communities and their spatial distributions. This information is essential to understand how organisms function as part of their communities and better manage diversity, and to give tools to policy and decision makers.

I am actively committed to promote biodiversity conservation throughout my work and outreach activities. Additionally,  I contribute as a researcher specialist to the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) SSC red list.

Research: Work
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