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Marine protected areas for Chilean Patagonia –

LMU biologist wins Pew Fellowship for protection of fjord region

Munich, 05/23/2011

Dr. Vreni Häussermann of LMU‘s GeoBioCenter is also Scientific Director of the Huinay Scientific Field Station in Comau Fjord on the coast of Chilean Patagonia. She is now one of four individuals chosen to receive Pew Fellowships in Marine Conservation this year. The award (worth US $150,000) will enable her to carry out a 3-year research and conservation project whose major goal is to lay the groundwork for a network of marine protected areas in the fjord region of Southern Chile. Covering some 80,000 km of coastline, this is the most extensive stretch of fjords in the world. It also provides the habitat for a rich, but so far little studied, community of species, which is increasingly threatened by commercial aquaculture, particularly salmon farming. “In our project we plan to use specialized software primarily to identify those areas that are of special biological significance and most worthy of protection, but also to define gaps in our data and our understanding of the ecosystem,” says Häussermann. She studied biology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München, and obtained her doctorate in marine zoology there in 2004. In 2005 she won the International Hintelmann Science Prize for Animal Taxonomy. She also coordinated the compilation of “Marine Benthic Fauna of Chilean Patagonia”, and served as its chief editor. This volume is the first comprehensive guide to the identification of the animals that live on the sea bottom in the fjord region. The Pew Environment Group ( is active in promoting conservation, and is part of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a privately owned foundation dedicated to improving public policy in a range of fields. The Pew Fellowships in Marine Conservation finance scientific research and other projects that contribute to the preservation of the world’s marine environments. (suwe/PH)



Dr. Vreni Häussermann
Phone: 0056-65-280368

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