Ana Hilário is a deep-sea biologist at the Centre for Environment and Marine Studies of the University of Aveiro. Her main expertise is in biodiversity, life-history traits and population connectivity with experience in different deep-sea ecosystems, including hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, seamounts and abyssal plains in different geographic regions (Atlantic, Pacific, Antarctica, Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico). Currently A. Hilário is interested in developing research to that will provide the necessary data to inform ecosystem-based management of areas targeted for seabed mining. She she co-leads Challenger 150 (www.challenger150.world), a 10-year programme of deep-sea biological science endorsed by UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
Lara Macheriotou is a marine biologist with a BSc in Marine Biology from the University of Oregon (U.S.A.) and an Erasmus Mundus MSc in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. Her MSc thesis investigated the role of intraspecific functional trait variability in a free-living marine nematode under thermal stress. Her Phd work focused on the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea nematodes of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone and the Mozambique Channel using first and Next Generation Sequencing methodologies. As a post-doc she is further elaborating her investigation into deep-sea nematode ecology with a focus on community assembly and phylogenetic community structure as assessed by metabarcoding. Her research is situated within the context of assessing the impacts of potential industrial scale deep-sea mining operations.