Graduate Student Projects

M.S. Fabio Cabrera De Leo - PhD student

Phone: (808) 956-5372
Fax: (808) 956-9516

University of Hawai`i at Manoa
1000 Pope Road, 
Marine Sciences Building, office 609
Honolulu, HI 96822


Fabio has entered in the Oceanography graduate program at SOEST, University of Hawaii in the fall of 2006, sponsored by a CAPES-Fulbright scholarship.

He has obtained his Masters degree in Biological Oceanography by the Oceanographic Institute of University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2003. He has more than 10 years of experience working with marine benthic communities (macro and megabenthos) from coastal, shelf and slope areas, addressing environmental changes caused either by natural variability or by human activities, in particular coastal and offshore oil drilling/refining operations.

Now he focus his career on deep-sea environments, particularly submarine canyons, expecting to unravel some complex patterns of biodiversity and energy/matter flows inside these abrupt submarine topographies. His work has the potential to generate new information to support fisheries management and to aid in the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of biodiverity and biomass hotspots in the ocean.

As fieldwork experience Fabio has recently completed 365 days at sea in the last summer expedition of the FOODBANCS-2 project. He also has been in research cruises in Brazil, Hawaii, New Zealand and Antarctica, working with several oceanographic instruments such as sediment coring devices, dredging and trawling, CTD/Rosette casts, plankton nets, ROV'S, towed camera platforms, etc. Fabio has also been in a couple of submersible dives inside submarine canyons off Oahu and Molokai, Hawaii, as part of his PhD research.

Check more about Fabio De Leo at his webpage at SOEST

Current Research and Collaborations

  • EXPLORE-NOAA, Submarine canyons Hawaii;

  • RENEWZ- I, II - Chemosynthetic habitats, New Zealand, Kaikoura canyon;

  • FOODBANCS-2; Climate change in the Western Antarctic Peninsula;

  • WCC-II, Submarine Canyons, Western New Zealand Margin- NIWA;

  • Ecosytem Function in Mangrooves, Hawaii;


  • De Leo, F.C., Smith C.R., Rowden, A.A., Bowden, D.A., Clark, M.R. Submarine canyons: Hotspots of benthic biomass and productivity in the deep-sea. (in submission, Proceedings of the Royal Society B)

  • Vetter, E., Smith, C.R., De Leo, F.C. 2010. Hawaiian Hotspots: Enhanced Megafaunal Abundance and Diversity in Submarine Canyons on the Oceanic Islands of Hawaii. Marine Ecology, 31: 183-199

  • Smith, C.R., De Leo, F.C., Bernardino, A., Sweetman, A., & Martinez, P. 2008. Abyssal food limitation, Ecosystem structure and Climate Change.  Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 23: 518-528

  • De Léo, F.C. & A.M.S. Pires-vanin. 2006. Benthic Megafauna communities under influence of the SACW (South, Atlantic Central Water) intrusion onto the Brazilian Southeastern shelf: a comparison between an upwelling and a non-upwelling ecosystem. Journal of Marine Systems, 60: 268-284

  • De Léo, F. C. & A. M. S. Pires-vanin. Ancient-carbonate plataforms at shelf-break offshore of Cabo Frio (Southeastern Brazilian coast) as habitats structuring benthic invertebrate communities (in preparation).

  • Pires-Vanin, A.M.S., P.M. Maciel & F.C. De Léo. Benthic macrofauna structure in a coastal area in the vicinities of the Landulpho-Alves-Mataripe oil refinery, Bahia state, Brazil: seasonal and spatial distributional patterns. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography (in preparation).

  • De Léo, F. C. & A. M. S. Pires-vanin. Benthic macrofauna in a depth gradient in the Cabo Frio upwelling system, SE Brazilian Shelf. (in preparation).

Fabio De Leo