Grantee name: Lucia Rizzo
Sending institution: Institute of Sciences of Food Production – National Research Council of Italy (ISPA – CNR )
Receiving institution: Institute of Environmental Science and Technology – Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA – UAB)
Marine Animal Forests (MAFs) encompass some of the most important coastal and marine benthic habitats where numerous sessile suspension feeders like anthozoans, ascidians bivalves, bryozoans, corals, sea pens, sponges, and tube worms occur. Since they raise unique structures and support important ecosystem functions, in the last decades, some MAFs have been the object of international conventions, EU directives, and national policies to address human-induced disturbances. The STSM has allowed to provide a list of protected species occurring in Mediterranean MAFs by screening the main international policies for the protection of coastal and marine fauna. Reporting the status of the MAF species that should be considered in management and conservation measures will be crucial for by policy-makers, as well as for mitigating current and future impacts on these unique marine environments.
Grantee name: Declan Morrissey
Sending institution: University of Galway
Country: Florianopolis – Brazil
I undertook an STSM in July 2023 to better understand the diversity of deep-sea corals from the South Atlantic, specifically bamboo corals (Family Keratoisididae). During this month, Dr Renata Arantes and I undertook detailed morphological investigations of corals she had collected over the last few years. Furthermore, we generated sequencing data for these corals. We are both happy to report that the STSM was a success and preliminary data suggests the presence of both new genera and new species. Some species we examined are remarkably similar to colonies observed in the Northeast Atlantic. In addition to the science, Renata showed me around the beautiful Island and welcomed me into her home. She embodies the amazing hospitality I came to know from the Brazilian people. Our work continues as we continue to explore new avenues for future collaborations.