The EMB Young Ambassador Alumni Programme enables former Ambassadors to retain contact and engagement with EMB, as well as with current Ambassadors and other Alumni, in a more informal setting. Every year, the Alumni elect one member to serve as Alumni Representative and represent them at EMB Plenary meetings, and provide updates on their activities and progress. EMB also continues to provide visibility to the activities of the Alumni, and both EMB and the Alumni can benefit from the ongoing contact.
The Ambassador Alumni Representative for 2023 is TBC.
Where are they now?
EMB Young Ambassadors 2021-2023
Rebecca Zitoun grew up in Germany, where she obtained a BSc in Earth Sciences from the University of Frankfurt and a MSc in Marine Environmental Science from the Carl Ossietzky University Oldenburg before moving to New Zealand where she received a Postgrad Diploma in Marine Science and a PhD in Marine Chemistry from the University of Otago. Her PhD project investigated the principles and processes underlying copper speciation in marine ecosystems around New Zealand in an effort to advance current understanding of trace metal biogeochemistry, refine aquatic biogeochemical models, and improve environmental risk assessments for bioactive metals. From 2020 to 2021 Rebecca worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ) focusing on the biogeochemistry of iron in the High Latitude North Atlantic. In October 2021, Rebecca became part of the Marine Mineral Resource group of Geomar-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, an EMB Member Organization in Germany, and in 2023, she moved to Hobart, Tasmania. You can find her on Google Scholar here.
Anjali Gopakumar holds a BTech in Biotechnology from VIT University, India, and an MSc in the EU-funded Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Programme: International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea). Currently, she is working as a Cotutelle PhD student at University of Bologna (Italy) - an EMB Member Organisation via CoNISMa - and Macquarie University (Australia), investigating the ecosystem functions and services of restored salt marshes in urban seascapes. She is focusing on the impacts of restoration on microbial communities and biogeochemical fluxes in salt marshes in the Venetian lagoon in Italy, and in the estuaries of New South Wales in Australia. You can find her on Google Scholar here.
EMB Young Ambassadors 2020-2022
Natalija Dunić is undertaking a postdoctoral programme at IZOR granted by the Ministry of Science and Education in Croatia, in which her main research will be the impact of different climate change scenarios on the Adriatic Sea thermohaline properties, the latter conditioning the life of marine habitants, in particular of those who have low tolerance levels for temperature and salinity changes. She has a MSc in Physics from University of Split, Croatia, and a PhD in Geophysics from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Her PhD research was conducted at EMB Member the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split (IOF), where she investigated the Adriatic Sea thermohaline circulation using several regional climate models. You can find her on Google Scholar here.
Alessandro Cresci is currently working on a postdoctoral project at the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), an EMB Member Organization in Norway, focusing on the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on migratory behavior of fish, with special focus on Offshore Wind Farms (OWFs). He was also a member of the EMB working group on Underwater Noise. He has a PhD in Ocean Sciences from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS) at the University of Miami, FL, USA. His PhD project investigated the most mysterious aspects of the migratory behavior of early-life stages of European eels and other species of fish. Specifically, his work focused on the role of the Earth's magnetic field and celestial cues in the orientation of fish. He grew up in the south of Italy, where he obtained his MSc in Marine Biology and his BSc in Biological Sciences from the Federico II University of Naples. You can find her on Google Scholar here.
EMB Young Ambassadors 2019-2021
Alba González Vega is working towards completing her PhD in Oceanography and Global Change (ULPGC), developing her research the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), an EMB member. She is working on a multidisciplinary study of the submarine volcano Tagoro (Canary Islands, Spain), which erupted in 2011 and still remains active in a degassing stage. Her work intends to assess the impact of the hydrothermal emissions from this shallow volcano on the physical, chemical and biological properties of the local marine environment. She is also a member of the EMB working group on Marine Geohazards. You can find her on Google Scholar here.
Liam Lachs completed his PhD on how climate change affects corals and coral reefs in 2024. Specifically, this work explored the demographics of coral populations, creating predictive models of coral bleaching in partnership with NOAA, and testing the scaling-up potential of assisted evolution as a method of coral reef restoration. This work was a part of the ERC project CORALASSIST at Newcastle University and was funded by EMB member NERC. He was also a member of the EMB working group on Coastal Resilience. You can find him on Google Scholar here.