Infaunal benthic communities (animals living in the sediments, Fig. 1) comprise some of the most diverse groups of organisms on Earth, and are ideal ecological indicators and sentinels for ecosystem health.
Yet only a small part of this diversity has been described, and knowledge of their biology and ecology is fragmentary. Facing the rapid increase of anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems, the scientific community needs to build robust baseline data sets and catalogues of marine life against which to measure future biodiversity changes and losses.
Due to their high abundance, diversity, widespread distribution, relatively rapid generation times and fast metabolic rates, infaunal benthic organisms are one of the best marine bio-indicators available to assess global environmental changes.
Daniela Zeppilli, an Italian from Ancona, took a master’s degree in biology/oceanography, then did a thesis in ecology and marine biology between Ancona and Ghent (Belgium) and it was there that she met taxonomists and was inspired to specialise in taxonomy (the science of classifications).
Daniela arrived in Brest as a post-doctoral fellow at LabexMer (the previous project before ISblue) and is now employed by Ifremer where she is responsible for the Deep Environment Laboratory.
The idea for the Blue Revolution project came from a sleepless night at sea during an oceanographic survey where she was waiting for sediments to be extracted and then identifying very “small animals” contained in these sediments.
“I thought it would be nice to be able to identify these little creatures in a simpler, less tedious way, and that’s the aim of the Blue Revolution project. I feel a bit like Jules Verne, discovering a new world! ” Daniela Zeppilli