Meet Prof. VELLA
Prof Adriana Vella is a full-time academic at the University of Malta where she has been lecturing in Conservation Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Developmental Biology since 1995. Her research involves studying species in their natural habitats, understanding their inter- and intra-populations/species connections and genetic diversity. She has pioneered marine conservation research involving offshore surveys, to study elusive dolphin and whales species, while assessing human impacts from pollution and overfishing to noise and maritime traffic.
Discovering, Understanding and Conserving Biodiversity
Currently she is also the Malta coordinator of the Interreg Italia-Malta project, SEA MARVEL, which aims at safeguarding, enhancing, and increasing knowledge and awareness on marine biodiversity. This project involves extensive marine research to study dolphins, whales and turtles in Marine Protected Areas and in fishing zones. It also monitors the presence of pollutants, especially plastic pollution and the presence of alien species which are not typically found in Maltese waters. Both these factors may contribute to the change and degradation of the marine environment which together with climate change impacts may put at risk marine biodiversity, including the species focused on. The project encourages the participation of schools and other stakeholders, such as fishermen, while using the most innovative ways to undertake research in the field and in the laboratory, using molecular genetics as well. Conservation science plays a vital role in better management of natural resources.
The Next step…
Improving conservation biology research and analytical methods while providing opportunities for future generations to have the skills to effectively protect our natural heritage and life sustaining biodiversity remains the main target. Future conservation research efforts including supervision of undergraduates, postgraduates and post docs will continue.