Joana Rita Bogalho Teixeira Xavier
I am an Assistant Researcher and leader of the Deep-Sea Biodiversity and Conservation Team at CIIMAR, University of Porto (Portugal), and an invited Associate Professor II in Deep-Sea Biology at the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Bergen (Norway). I hold a PhD in Biology (2009, University of Amsterdam) and a degree in Marine Biology (2003, University of Azores). My research focuses on the understanding of basin-scale diversity, biogeographic, and connectivity patterns of deep-sea sponges and the habitats they form (sponge grounds), using a combination of disciplines (taxonomy/systematics, ecology and genetics). I also strive to advance the science-policy-society interface, developing tools and transferring knowledge to support the implementation of international agreements and instruments established to ensure sustainable management and conservation of deep-sea vulnerable marine ecosystems. Other areas of interest include biotechnological and biomedical applicability of sponges (e.g. cellular metabolites and extracellular biomaterials) and their associated microbial communities. Over the years, I have trained and mentored over 20 students from BSc to PhD levels in the fields of sponge taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetics, and population genomics. I co-coordinated the H2020 SponGES project, and coordinate the DEEPbaseline project, an awardee of the Ocean Conservation Fund. I collaborate with a vast network of scientists from around the globe.