Within the Limnology of Mediterranean lagoons and wetlands research team we are studying the ecological functioning of wetlands and shallow waters, including freshwater temporary wetlands, as well as coastal lagoons and marshes with marine influence.
Our main research interests are:
- The study of species composition of aquatic communities in these waters, phytoplankton, zooplankton and aquatic macroinvertebrates, and the trophic relationships found among them. It includes the analysis of species composition using other non-taxonomic but functional approaches, such as the size of the individuals, their feeding habits or their life-history strategies.
- The influence of environmental factors (hydrological, physical, chemical and biological) and their variability on the ecological functioning of these aquatic ecosystems.
We also have used our knowledge on the ecology of Mediterranean shallow waters in several applied projects, such as:
- The restoration of waterbodies and creation of new ones, within the framework of several Life-Nature projects.
- The comparison of biological quality elements and the development of biological indicators for the assessment of the ecological status of Mediterranean shallow waters, as required for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
Main research topics
1. Limnology of temporary ponds
- Temporal patterns in animal community structure and their relationships with environmental factors, such as hydroperiod duration, salinity or nutrient composition.
- Comparative study of faunal biodiversity in temporary waters of different Mediterranean areas.
- Interrelation between fauna and flora composition in aquatic temporary habitats.
2. Limnology of coastal lagoons and saltmarshes
- Nutrient and organism dynamics (planktonic and benthic; primary and secondary producers) in coastal lagoons and saltmarshes, temporary and permanent.
- Comparison among freshwater, brackish and saline ecosystems. The role of confinement in Mediterranean coastal lagoons ecology.
- Trophic interactions and food webs in coastal lagoons.
3. Analysis of aquatic community structure
- Comparative of taxonomic and functional approaches in the study of aquatic community structure.
- Size-based approaches in the study of trophic interactions in aquatic communities.
- Spatial and temporal changes in community structure. Diel migration. Refuge and microhabitat selection.
4. Conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems
- Ecological status evaluation in shallow lentic ecosystems, according to the Water Framework Directive
- Habitat restoration and results evaluation in restoration programs
- Limnology of newly created ponds