I am Sarah Di Giglio, passionate about nature and marine life since my childhood. In 2015, I obtained a master degree in biology of organisms and ecology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. I focused my master thesis on global change impacts on sea urchins. Then, I had the chance to continue my studies as a PhD student with Dr. Philippe Dubois on echinoderms.
My research consist in the significance of biological characteristics that may modulate calcification sensitivity of post metamorphic echinoderms in the context of ocean acidification. I based my work on a comparative approach in starfish and sea urchins that are characterised by different diet, contrasted acid-base regulation capacity and that live in all kind of habitats, as they are ubiquist marine organisms. Concretely, I focus on biomechanical characteristics of the calcified skeleton of several species subject to long-term ocean acidification experiment and from CO2 vents.
In order to have a first global understanding of the adaptations of calcification and on the diversity of the skeleton characteristics I collaborated with laboratories that sent me specimens from Kiel Fjord (Germany) to Saint-Pierre fringing reef (Reunion Island). In addition, I have collaborations that provide us access to naturally occurring, shallow water volcanic CO2 vents to collect organisms that spent their lifetime submitted to near-future seawater levels of CO2.
In 2018, I had the opportunity to collect specimens of sea urchins and sea stars at Port Foster, the submerged caldera of Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula, which shows several hydrothermal vents. There, the shallow benthic fauna is present in high density, especially echinoderms, and is adapted to naturally hard conditions. Measurements we made on those sampled organisms are compared to animals from CO2 vents of the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in order to have a general insight of the adaptation of echinoderms and ecosystems in our near-future oceans.
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