Dr. Michela Angiolillo is a research scientist in marine ecology at ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research). She graduated in 2005 (MSc in environmental marine sciences) and received her PhD degree in polar science from the University of Siena, Italy in 2010. She has been involved in several multidisciplinary research projects regarding ecology of marine ecosystem engineering species of the Mediterranean Sea and regularly participates in national and international oceanographic cruises. Her major research interests are ecological assessment and biocenotic characterization of Mediterranean cold water corals (CWC), by studying coral occurrence, abundance, diversity, and spatial distribution in large-scale, using mostly non-invasive methods such as Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology. She also studies the occurrence and spatial distribution patterns of marine litter on seafloor, linking this with the interaction and impact on deep benthic organisms. Her research aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of CWC ecology and the variability of their responses to environmental features and human induced stressors, and she applies her studies to the conservation and sustainable management of these fragile marine ecosystems of deep areas of the Mediterranean Sea.