"Restore the present to conserve the future! The future of our oceans is in our hand, let’s do it!"
Stefano Ambroso (BSc in Marine biology, MSc in Oceanography) completed his PhD degree in the field of Antarctic benthic ecology at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona, (2020). In 2020, he obtained the dive master SSI degree and in 2021, he obtained the remotely operated vehicle pilot degree.
Today, the research conducted by Stefano focuses on the ecology of megabenthic communities and ecological engineering species (primary gorgonians, scleractinians, soft corals and sponges) to provide baseline and insight for the sustainable management and conservation of mesophotic and deep-sea ecosystems in shelves and slopes of the Mediterranean Sea and Antarctic Ocean. More specifically, his research has focused on characterizing deep-sea megabenthic assemblages’ structure, biodiversity trends and conservation status as well as ecological engineering species taxonomy, spatial distribution trends, population structure, rhythms, physiological response to human induced stressors and reproductive and trophic ecology. These studies have been conducted in both national (Institut de Ciències del Mar) and international research institutions (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy and University Sapienza di Roma).
Stefano’s research has been published in 32 scientific publications, 6 book chapters and 3 outreach publications. The researcher has supervised 4 master students, 8 bachelor students and is currently supervising 1 PhD student. He also presented his results in 10 international conferences. Since 2009, the researcher has also participated in 14 scientific cruises all of them generally related to the study of spatial distribution patterns of cold-water corals and other benthic fauna.
Another important research project is “Conservation and Recovery of Depth Gorgonians Populations through Ecological Restoration and Fisheries Impact Mitigation” RESCAP financed by Biodiversity Foundation and Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition, where he was the scientific coordinator. The main objective of this project is to restore the seabed of the continental shelf of Cap de Creus (Girona), located between 60 and 90 meters deep. During the project, he returned to the sea more than 4000 gorgonians.
Nowadays, he is also partially involved in the LIFE ECOREST project, the most important restoration project in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, he has collaborated in numerous outreach activities in the frame of “El Mar a Fondo” project giving more than 30 talks about ocean literacy and contributing to the development of three outreach patents, registered by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Stefano’s contribution to the ocean and more specifically, to marine biodiversity, has earned him a Juan de la Cierva Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Barcelona.