We are a team of Scientists working for the biodiversity and conservation in Patagonia, Chile.
Dr. Vreni Häussermann
San Sebastián University
Vreni received her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. For 18 years, she was directing Huinay Scientific Field Station, Vreni published more than 110 scientific papers, 18 book chapters, 3 book and more than 160 presentations on scientific meetings. She has been carrying out many scientific projects, of which she was leading ten. At the moment, she works as researcher and associate professor at San Sebastian University, Puerto Montt, Chile. Vreni is carrying out multi-disciplinary research that is needed to facilitate conservation and sustainable resource management in Chilean Patagonia. She is dedicated to baseline research projects such as species inventories and studies of patterns in biological diversity through space and time. She was the organizer and main editor of the book Marine Benthic Fauna of Chilean Patagonia, the first marine field guide for multiple groups of organisms in the fjord region. Vreni is active in counselling governmental and non-governmental organisations on conservation and proper marine resource management and brings research results not only to the scientific community, but also to decision makers, industry representatives, fishermen and the broader public. Her team submitted a proposal for a marine protected area (MPA) in two fjords with unique cold-water coral banks. Together with other NGOs, they have been working on a proposal for a network of MPAs for Chilean Patagonia for the Chilean govermment. She has contributed to international initiatives such as the Census of Marine Life, the Discover Life program, Mission Blue and Google Ocean, and featured in many documentaries and newspaper articles. She won the PEW Marine Fellowship in 2011, the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2016, and the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel Award of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation in 2020. Vreni is very concerned about the planetary triple crisis including the climate catastrophe, the loss of biodiversity and the contamination, especially of the oceans.
Günter Försterra Dipl. Biol.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Günter received his biology degree from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. For 18 years, he was directing Huinay Scientific Field Station together with Vreni. At the moment, he works as an associate researcher at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Chile. Günter published more than 70 scientific publications, 11 book chapters, 2 books and more than 120 presentations on scientific meetings. He has been carrying out 7 major scientific projects of which he was leading two. His research topics include benthic invertebrate ecology, especially cold-water corals, fjord regions and marine protected areas. In 2009, together with Vreni Häussermann he edited and published the first comprehensive taxonomic field guide of marine benthic invertebrates of Chilean Patagonia, the first marine field guide for multiple groups of organisms in the fjord region. He has contributed to international initiatives such as the Census of Marine Life, the Discover Life program, Mission Blue and Google Ocean. Due to his concern about the planetary triple crisis, he is building up a small enterprise with a circular economy.
Daniel joined the team in 2022 as the accountant assistant and for the management of the different research projects that are funded by the Fondecyt national program.
He is an environmental engineer and a valuable member of the team. Among others, his interests are photography, outdoor activities, maps and geography.
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Ignacia Acevedo Romo
Cold-water Coral reproduction
She is a Marine Biologist and a Master’s student in Oceanography at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso joined with University of Valparaíso.
Her previous work includes Microbial fuel cells (MFC): Perchlorate reduction with electrochemically active halophilic bacteria, and later the creation of protocols for the detection and monitoring of harmful algal blooms in a citizen project.
In 2019 she had her first encounter with deep sea corals and that was the first step for starting her work in Cold-water coral reproduction during 2022. She studies the processes that involve the reproductive ecology and larval development of Desmophyllum dianthus in Northern Patagonia. Also, how climate change and environmental pressures can affect the first stages of this specie. Thus, we can understand and have a better approach on how to protect these ecosystems.
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