Susana is a senior research scientist in the Red Sea Research Center since December 2012. She moved to KAUST from Portugal to work on a proposal for a research program with Saudi Aramco that was later named "Saudi Aramco / KAUST Center for Marine Environmental Observations (SAKMEO)." Susana has been leading the Environmental Impacts and Stewardship (EIS) research effort in SAKMEO since the inception of the program.
Coming from a small country with the 5th largest exclusive economic zone within Europe (20th in the world), the sea was always present in her life. Later, when she started her Bachelor's degree in Biology, she became amazed by the diversity of invertebrates in the sea; also about how changes in their patterns could be used to assess changes resulting from human activities.
Susana's research interests include the assessment of the effects of anthropogenic and natural stressors on the biodiversity and functioning of the marine ecosystem from the gene to the community level. In the Red Sea, she has been investigating changes in the biodiversity patterns (from bacteria to fish) along with multiple spatial and temporal scales through a combination of molecular and morphology-based approaches. Biodiversity changes have been investigated from a compositional (what species are there?) and functional (what are species doing?) perspectives. Even though she has dedicated most of the research to coral reef biotopes, studies have also been conducted on pelagic and soft-sediment biotopes, aiming for a more integrated understanding of the Red Sea ecosystem functioning.
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