Invited speaker biosketch

Paul Snelgrove

Dr. Paul Snelgrove is a University Research Professor of Ocean Sciences and Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. From 2008-2021 he led the (NSERC) Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, a national research network that developed new tools and approaches to support sustainable oceans. He currently serves as Associate Scientific Director of The Ocean Frontier Institute, which gathers researchers in Atlantic Canada and beyond to advance safe and sustainable ocean objectives. From 2003-2013, Dr. Snelgrove held a Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems, following from an NSERC Industrial Chair in Fisheries Conservation. He led the synthesis of the International Census of Marine Life program, and was a member of the program’s Scientific Steering Committee. His TED Global talk on that program has almost 375,000 views. He frequently participates in workshops and conferences around the world as an invited speaker. In 2013, he was awarded the Timothy Parsons Medal for Excellence in Marine Sciences in Canada, and in 2020 was appointed Departmental Science Advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He has published ~150 journal articles, 30 book chapters and 2 books on his research on sustaining marine biodiversity and functioning in seafloor ecosystems in all three of Canada’s oceans

Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi

Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi (LBC) is Professor in Ecology at the University of Pisa and past Vice-Rector for European and International research (2016-2022). LBC’s lab uses marine coastal plants and animals as experimental model systems to address fundamental ecological questions, including the causes and consequences of loss of biodiversity, the ecological impacts of climate change and the role of Marine Protected Areas for the conservation of marine life. LBC is member of the Biology & Ecosystem Panel of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and has served the European Research Council (ERC) Review Panel LS8 of the IDEAS program. LBC has coordinated national and international projects and he is the Coordinator of the Biodiversa+ project BioBoost+. LBC has published +175 papers in peer reviewed ecological journals and 10 chapters in books and his work has received +13,000 citations (Google Scholar). LBC is included among the top 1% scientists worldwide in Marine Ecology, based on Scopus standardized citation metrics and in 2019 he received the International Temperate Reef Symposium award for lifelong contribution to marine sciences.

Isabelle M. Côté

Isabelle Côté is a Distinguished Professor of Marine Ecology at Simon Fraser University, on the west coast of Canada and Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. Her interests are topically and taxonomically broad. Her recent research focuses on marine invasive species – measuring their ecological and economic impacts, predicting their spread and devising the best ways to control them. Although much of her work has been on tropical habitats, focusing on Indo-Pacific lionfish as a model invasive predator, she is now involved in ecological research in temperate regions, with projects on invasive crabs and snails and how they contribute to the cumulative effects of multiple stressors that alter kelp and eelgrass resilience in British Columbia. She is passionate about science communication, particularly relating to ocean discovery. In her down time, she dives, swims in open water, and runs on forest trails. She recently rowed unsupported across the Atlantic to raise funds for ocean conservation education.

Sam Dupont

Sam Dupont is an Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer at the University of Gothenburg and the Vice-Director of the Kristinenerg Center for Marine Research and Innovation, Sweden. He is a marine ecophysiologist with more than 15 years of experience in the field of the biological impacts of global environmental changes, including ocean acidification. His work aims at resolving the mechanisms and unifying principles behind the response of marine species and ecosystems to single and multiple environmental changes. This was published in more than 250 articles in journals including Science, Nature and PNAS, and his highlighted in high-level policy documents such as the latest IPCC report. He is also consultant for the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre of the International Atomic Energy Agency where he is coordinating a large-scale international capacity building program on ocean acidification.

Fiorenza Micheli

Fiorenza Micheli is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Marine Science at Stanford University, chair of the Oceans Department in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, co-director of Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, senior fellow at Woods Institute for the Environment, and Professor, by courtesy, in Biology. Her research focuses on the processes shaping marine communities and coastal social-ecological systems, incorporating this understanding in marine conservation and in co-designing solutions with decision-makers and communities. She investigates climatic impacts on marine ecosystems, particularly the impacts of and adaptation to warming, hypoxia and ocean acidification in marine species, communities and fisheries, marine predators’ ecology and trophic cascades, the dynamics and sustainability of small-scale fisheries, and the design and function of Marine Protected Areas. She is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, co-founder on board member of Ocean Visions, co-chair of the UN Ocean Decade program GEOS (Global Ecosystems for Ocean Solutions) and advisor to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Seafood Watch, Global Fishing Watch, and the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory.

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John Doe
Emily Darling

Dr. Emily Darling is a distinguished coral reef ecologist and leads WCS’s global coral reef conservation program. Her research in coral reef communities, conservation, and climate change has earned international recognition and prestigious awards. As the Director of Coral Reef Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Emily coordinates coral reef science, conservation and policy with WCS programs and partners in the Western Indian Ocean, the Coral Triangle, Melanesia, and Caribbean. Passionate about supporting coral reef monitoring scientists and data science, she co-founded MERMAID – a groundbreaking coral reef monitoring platform endorsed by the United Nations. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto and has published >75 scientific publications. With 15+ years of experience, Emily’s dedication to coral reef conservation extends beyond research; she spearheads strategic partnerships, fundraising, and impact initiatives for WCS’s global coral reef portfolio. As a scientific diver and underwater photographer, Emily is a passionate science communicator and advocate for coral reefs to inspire hope and action worldwide.

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John Doe
Chiara Petrioli

Chiara Petrioli is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Rome La Sapienza, where she directs the SENSES lab and has had leadership positions including deputy rector for scouting, fundraising and SME Incubation. She is Founder and CEO, WSense Srl, a deep tech company spinoff of La Sapienza which has pioneered and is leading the Internet of Underwater Things revolution.
Chiara is an IEEE Fellow for her contribution on wireless and underwater networking and among the most cited international researchers in the field of computer science and engineering. She has received several innovation awards -NT100 top social global techs changing our lives 2016; 100 women against the stereotype in STEM 2016; Inspiring Fifty Italy 2018; N2Women 2019 Stars in Computer Communications and Networking; Wired Italy fifty women who have made and are making the history of Computer Science; #EUWomen4Future,100 women who are changing the world, Repubblica D 2021, Finalist of Gamma Donna 2022 and winner of the Gamma Donna Women Startup Award 2022, Intesa San Paolo Innovation Center. WSense is one of top italian innovation companies (100 eccellenze italiane 2020), winner of the european commission Blue Invest Award 2022, of the EIT Digital Challenge 2022 and of the Uplink World Economic Ocean Data Challenge 2023.

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John Doe
Gianluca Sarà

Gianluca Sarà (PhD 1994) is a Full Professor of Ecology and coordinates the Ecology Laboratory at the University of Palermo, Italy. Together with his team, he explores the effects of variability induced by anthropogenic environmental change on the ecological responses of organisms in marine habitats and its influences on community dynamics, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. He is the co-PI of SPOKE 1 – SEA (NBFC, PNRR Next Generation-EU), member of the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR), of the EU-Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030” and CLUSTER 6 Italy for Horizon Europe (MUR) Expert Panels. He has coordinated more than 15 international competitive projects (Interreg, Horizon EU, Australian Research Council, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, PRIN, PNRA). He spent more three years as a visiting fellow at Universities of Hong Kong (CN), Adelaide (AUS), Columbia (SC, USA), Kuala Terrenganu (MY) and Boston (MS, USA); is an Adjunct Full Professor (2024-2026) at the Ocean University (CN). He is the author of more than 200 in peer-reviewed scientific journals and of an Ecology textbook (Pusceddu, Sarà, Viaroli 2020 – Ecology. UTET).

Mariachiara Chiantore

Mariachiara Chiantore is full professor of Ecology at the University of Genoa, PhD in Marine Sciences, head of the Benthic Ecology Laboratory of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences. Member of the Research, Internationalization and Sustainability commissions of the University of Genova, of the Board of the Italian Society of Marine Biology, co-coordinator of Spoke 2 of the National Biodiversity Center. Coordinator and participant of several EU Projects (in the framework of FP7, Horizon Europe, CBC-MED, Life Programmes). Research topics: ecology of intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky shores, ecological restoration of marine species and habitats, with particular attention to reproduction in controlled conditions, ecology of toxic benthic microalgae blooms and aquaculture, specifically in reference to interactions with the environment and the implementation of biodiversity-friendly cultivation techniques, such as integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA).

GianMarco Luna

Director of CNR IRBIM since 2018. He obtained a PhD in Marine Biology and Ecology at the Polytechnic University of Marche (2005). He has carried out marine research firstly at PUM (2006-2011) and later at the CNR ISMAR (2011-2018). He participated to more than 30 national and international research projects and scientific expeditions around the globe, and has been visiting scientist in foreign Research Centers. He is currently coordinating the JPI-funded ARENA project and the Spoke 2 of NBFC funded by National Resilience and Recovery Plan. Author of >100 publications including articles in peer reviewed scientific journals, popular articles on marine sciences and book chapters. His research investigates the marine ecosystem and how marine microorganisms affect its functioning and viceversa, from the coastal area to the abyssal depths, with emphasis on the mechanisms that regulate microbial biodiversity and the response of the marine (micro)biota to human impact and global change.