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Leonardo Tamborrino



Marine Sedimentologie


+49 421 218-65678



Marum II - 3290

Leonardo Tamborrino

Research project

Spatio-temporal distribution of cold-water corals and coral mounds in SE Atlantic

Cold-water corals (CWC) are the engineers of large deep-sea ecosystems and form unique biodiversity hotspots along most of the world's continental margins.However, only recently the significance of CWC (also on a global scale) has been revealed triggered by the progress in deep-sea technologies. CWC have the capability to construct significant large seabed
structures known as cold-water coral mounds*. Present knowledge about CWC and coral mounds regarding their formation and development through time, their spatial distribution, their ecology and their sensitivity to environmental change derived mainly from studies in the North Atlantic Ocean. For other regions in the Atlantic Ocean, in particular in the low latitudes, only few scattered reports of CWC exist. One example, for a low latitude CWC site is the upwelling area
off Angola and Namibia. The knowledge about the occurrence of CWC in this area was rather sparse. However, recent hydroacoustic campaigns revealed extended areas showing numerous seabed structures, which resemble coral mounds of the NE Atlantic. Although this region is characterised by an extensive oxygen minimum zone, the few reports about CWC demonstrate the great potential to find extensive and large CWC ecosystems along the Angolan and Namibian margins. The M122 expedition in early 2016 (RV METEOR M122 cruise) has conducted a survey and sampling programme to:
(a) validate if the hydroacoustically detected seabed structures are formed by CWC, and to
(b) investigate their spatial distribution, their vitality and the prevailing environmental setting, and to (c) reconstruct the development of these ecosystems across glacial-interglacial timescales.
Using material (acoustic data, ROV video footage, surface and core sediments) newly collected from the Namibian and Angolan continental margins during the M122 research cruise, the present project aims to reconstruct the spatial and temporal distribution of CWC and the formation and development of coral mounds with special emphasis on describing their geomorphological characteristics in this region in response to changing environmental conditions.


Leonardo Tamborrino is a PhD student in the Marine Sedimentology group at MARUM, since Oct. 2016. Before, he worked as predoctoral researcher in crystallography at CSIC-Istituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Terra (Granada, Spain) and as grant holder in applied mineralogy at CIRCe-University of Padova (Italy). He graduated in Geological Sciences and Technologies at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), with a master thesis on seep-carbonates from Athina mud volcano (eastern Mediterranean Sea)

Research interest

  • Cold-water corals
  • Coral mounds distribution and development
  • Morphometry and facies mapping
  • SE Atlantic palaeoceanography
  • Hydroacoustics and seafloor imaging
  • Deep-sea geobiology


Scientific fieldwork

10.2018         M151 RV METEOR cruise "Atlantic Thermocline Ocean and Ecosystems Dynamic during Natural Climate Change (ATHENA)" (Chief scientist: Prof. N. Frank) 
04.2017         PS105 Echo­sound­ing train­ing cruise on board of RV Polarstern
03.2016         Al­kaline Lakes in the Kenyan Rift Val­ley (ERC-PROMETHEUS, Prof. J.M. Gar­zia-Ruiz)
01.2016         Dal­lol, Ethiopia, "Dal­lol, aux fron­ti­ers de la vie" ex­ped­i­tion (Group leader: O. Grune­wald)
11-12.2014    M112 RV METEOR cruise "Dynamic of Mud Volcanoes and Seeps in the Calabrian Accretionary Prism, Ionian Sea" (Chief Sci­ent­ist: Prof. G. Bo­hr­mann)
M112 cruise
Dallol, Ethiopia
PS105 Cruise

Curriculum vitae

Since 10.2016         Ph.D. student at MARUM-University of Bremen in the Marine Sedimentology group
09.2015-07.2016    Predoctoral researcher at CSIC-Istituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Terra (Granada, Spain)
04.2014-10.2014    Grant holder at CIRCe-Dept. of Geosciences, University of Padova (Italy)
11.2011-02.2014     M.Sc. in Geological Sciences & Technologies at University of Modena (Italy)
04.2013-07.2013    Erasmus Placement at MARUM-University of Bremen in the Marine Geology group
09.2008-09.2011    B.Sc. in Geological Sciences at University of Modena (Italy)
02.2010-06.2010    Erasmus at Faculty for the Built Environment, Univerisity of Malta (Malta)


Publications, reports and conference papers

Tamborrino, L., Wienberg, C., Titschack, J., Wintersteller, P., Mienis, F., Schröder-Ritzrau A., Freiwald, A., Orejas, C., Dullo, C., Haberkern, J., Hebbeln, D., Mid-Holocene extinction of cold-water corals on the Namibian shelf steered by the Benguela Upwelling System. Geology (2019)
Hanz U., Wienberg C., Hebbeln D., Duineweld G., Lavaleye M.S.S., Juva K., Dullo W.F., Freiwald A., Tamborrino L., Reichart G.J., Flögel S., Mienis F. Environmental factors influencing cold-water coral ecosystems in the oxygen minimum zones on the Angolan and Namibian margins. Biogeoscience discussions (2019)
Tamborrino L., Himmler T., Elvert M., Conti S., Gualtieri A. F., Fontana D., Bohrmann G.,  Formation of tubular carbonate conduits at Athina mud volcano, eastern Mediterranean Sea. Marine and Petroleum Geology (2019), v. 107, p.20-31, 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2019.05.003.
García-Ruiz, J. M., Nakouzi, E., Kotopoulou, E., Tamborrino, L., Steinbock, O., Biomimetic mineral self-organization from silica-rich spring waters. Science Advances 3, e1602285 (2017).
Bohrmann G., Alvarez R., Biller T., Buchheister S., Büttner H., Canoni O., Dehnin, K., Ferreira C., Geprägs P., Heinken S., Hüttich D., Johansen C., Klar S., Klüber S., Leymann T., Mai H.A., Marcon Y., Mary F., Meinecke G., Menapace W., Nowald N., Pape T., Praeg, D., Raeke A., Rehage R., Renken J., Reuter C., Rohleder C., Römer M., Sahling H., Sans i Coll C., Schade T., Seiter C., Spalek P., Spiesecke U., Tamborrino, L., Torres M., von Wahl T., Wiebe M., Wintersteller, P., Zarrouk, M. 2015. Report and preliminary results of R/V METEOR cruise M112, Dynamic of Mud Volcanoes and Seeps in the Calabrian Accretionary Prism, Ionian Sea, Catania (Italy) – Catania (Italy), November 6 – December 15, 2014. Berichte, MARUM – Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften, Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Universität Bremen, No. 306, 217 pages. Bremen, 2015. ISSN 2195-9633.
Ferrari G., Russo V., Dragoni M., Artioli G., Dalconi M.C., Secco M., Tamborrino L., Valentini L., The influence of C3A on the dissolution kinetics of alite/gypsum mixtures in the presence of PCEs. (Accepted for Special Proceedings -11th Int. Conf. on “Superplasticizers and Other Chemical Admixtures in Concrete”, Ottawa, 2015).