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A/Prof Melanie Bishop, Dr Katherine Dafforn, Dr Mariana Mayer Pinto
Maria Vozzo is a marine ecologist with research interests in marine urban ecology and habitat restoration. Originally from the United States, Maria began her marine science career as a research assistant at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Institute of Marine Science after completing her BSc at UNC Chapel Hill and MSc at Louisiana State University. In 2018, she completed her PhD at Macquarie University where she investigated mechanisms that influence habitat provisioning by the native Sydney rock oyster, and how these factors may influence successful restoration of this species. She is currently working on the Living Seawalls program.
Research at SIMS
Maria commenced her position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate & Project Manager of the Living Seawalls program in 2018. Over 50% of the Sydney Harbour shoreline has been modified with marine structures such as seawalls. Compared to natural shorelines, marine infrastructure tends to have lower biodiversity, higher rates of non-native species and variable ecosystem functioning, all of which have huge implications on marine biodiversity.
As part of this collaborative research initiative, she is researching methods to transform seawalls and other structures into more ecologically friendly structures. Along with the Living Seawalls team, Maria is investigating the community composition of Living Seawalls installations from microbes to fish. They are also addressing questions such as how the design and configuration of habitat modules influence biodiversity. Results from this program will help to enhance native marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in Sydney Harbour, with potential for application worldwide.