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DAmbra IsabellaResearcher
Integrative Marine Ecology Department

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale
80121 Napoli - Italia

Tel.: +39 081 5833201
Fax: +39 081 7641355
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Contatto Skype: isabella.dambra

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interest

Gelatinous zooplankton (pelagic cnidarians, ctenophores and pelagic tunicates) are considered a nuisance because they interfere with fisheries, touristic and industrial activities along the coast. Indeed they play a key yet not well defined role in marine ecosystems. Gelatinous zooplankton prey upon plankton and are in turn ingested by fish, sea turtles, sea mammals and birds, therefore they are located at intermediate trophic levels of the food web. Past research focused on the definition of their diet, while their interactions with potential competitors - planktivorous fish prey upon plankton alike - and predators - gelatinous tissues are difficult to detect within stomach contents - are still little known. For a better management of the ecosystem, the role of gelatinous zooplankton needs to be well defined.
Using the ability to breed gelatinous zooplankton in captivity and the expertise in applying stable isotope analysis developed during the PhD in the US, I worked on different aspects of their biology and ecology (life cycles, parasitism, taxonomy, fluid dynamics, prey capture, feeding patterns, competition with forage fish and association with forage fish juvenile stages). Overall my results confirmed that the role of gelatinous zooplankton in marine ecosystems is complex.
By using the skills already in my possess and developing new ones, I will work on the definition of the ecological role of gelatinous zooplankton in the gulf of Napoli, where the data available are scarce, fragmentary and out-of-date, eventually in coordination with national and international research programs.

Selected Publications

D’Ambra I, Graham WM, Carmichael RH, Hernandez Jr FJ (in press) Dietary overlap between jellyfish and forage fish in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Mar Ecol Prog Ser

Avian M, Ramšak A, Tirelli V, D’Ambra I, Malej A (2016) Redescription of Pelagia benovici into a new jellyfish genus: Mawia gen. nov., and its phylogenetic position within Pelagiidae (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa: Semaeostomeae). Invert Syst, 30: 523-546

D’Ambra I, Graham WM, Carmichael RH, Hernandez Jr FJ (2015) Fish rely on scyphozoan hosts as a primary food source: evidence from stable isotope analysis. Mar Biol, 162: 247-252

D’Ambra I, Malej A (2015) Scyphomedusae of the Mediterranean: state of the art and future perspectives. Centr Nervous Syst Agents Med Chem, 15: 81-94

D’Ambra I, Carmichael RH, Graham WM (2014) Determination of δ13C and δ15N and trophic fractionation in jellyfish: implications for trophic ecology and food web studies. Mar Biol, 161: 473-480

D’Ambra I, Graham WM, Carmichael RH, Malej A, Onofri V (2013) Predation patterns and prey quality of medusae in a semi-enclosed marine lake: implications for food web energy transfer in coastal marine ecosystems. J Pla Res, 35: 1305-1312

Graham WM, Condon RH, Carmichael RH, D’Ambra I, Patterson HK, Linn LJ, Hernandez Jr FJ (2010) Oil carbon entered the coastal planktonic food web during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Environ Res Lett, 5: 045301

Book chapters

Gambi MC, D’Ambra I, Fiorito G, Saggiomo V (2013) The “Archivio “Moncharmont”: a pioneering biodiversity assessment in the Gulf of Naples (Italy). In: Groeben C Ed. Places, People, Tools. Oceanography in the Mediterranean and Beyond. Proceedings of the Eight International Congress for the History of Oceanography. Pubblicazioni della Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, IV, pp. 459-467

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