Author's Posts

My research is focused on invertebrate aquatic communities and how they are shaped by biotic and abiotic factors. My studies have been mainly performed in Mediterranean coastal lagoons, but I have also worked in temperate and tropical water bodies, including deep lakes. Regarding abiotic variables, I am especially interested in disentangling how water permanence and the dry phase affect community assembly, but also the influence of salinity and trophic level com aquatic organisms. Additionally, I have studied the effect of fish predation pressure on invertebrates, including the behavioral response of zooplankton to avoid predation. I have been also involved in projects related with aquatic habitat restoration, studying community colonization and assembly and variations on environmental variables.
As part of my current position at UdG, I will estimate ecosystem metabolism in a set of coastal lagoons (ranging in conductivity and water current) and in their main water sources (mostly irrigation canals), through high-frequency monitoring of environmental variables.

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Albert Ruhí

Born in 1984. BSc in Biology (2006) and PhD in wetland ecology at the Institute of Aquatic Ecology of the University of Girona (2007-2011), with research stages at the Linnaeus University, Sweden (2009), and the University of Georgia in Athens, USA (2011).

Since March 2012 I have been working at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) as a Postdoctoral researcher. My major research interests are focused on (i) quantifying the impacts of global change on the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems, with a special emphasis on food webs and biological traits; and on (ii) identifying the variables that make aquatic ecosystems restoration projects succeed or fail, in order to achieve a better knowledge on how to offset current freshwater biodiversity loss. I have participated in several EU LIFE-Nature projects, as well as in DEPREMED and RETROMED Spanish ones.

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Jordi Sala

My interests are focused on the ecology of aquatic fauna of temporary ponds, mainly in the patterns of the biodiversity that hold these ecosystems, and in its conservation issues. I’m also interested in the taxonomical issues related to freshwater crustaceans, specially microcrustaceans and large branchiopods. As this last group is a flagship species of temporary ponds, I’m also interested in their distribution, life histories, and ecological role in the faunal community.

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The main goal of my research is to understand the changes in the trophic and size structure and the composition of the phytoplankton community under the grazer resistance vs. competitive ability trade-off. The results found until now have shown me the importance of the second trait of this ratio, competitive ability, classically knows as bottom up control. Competition based on the ratio surface/volume, or in the r-K dichotomy, nutrients storage ability and alternative nutritional pathways as mixotrophy confer an amazing plasticity to the phytoplankton community, which allow its adaptation to almost any environment. In contrast, top-down control seems to be a secondary factor in environments where nutrients are scarce and only becomes a major factor when nutrient availability is insured.

In Mediterranean coastal lagoons, one of the most important factors on the regulation of nutrient availability is the hydrologic pattern. The combination of the frequency (circulation-confinement gradient) and the origin of the water inputs (salt-freshwater gradient) lead to a particular environment with its particular phytoplankton community. In this sense, the trophic strategy dominating the phytoplankton community will depend on the proportion of inorganic:organic nutrient availability.

The last decade several studies have reported the consequences of climatic change on coastal ecosystems, such as the increase of mean water temperature, increase of sea level and flooded inland surface, and changes in runoff frequency and intensity. The degree of these changes is difficult to evaluate, however it is certain that these changes in hydrological pattern will modify trophic relationships in aquatic ecosystems, at least at the level of the microbial loop. Thus, learning the processes by which the organisms of the microbial loop respond to the hydrological and climatic changes could help us understand the progressive transformation of the planktonic community.

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Jordi Compte

My research is focussed in the ecology of aquatic communities in Mediterranean lagoons and salt marshes. I am interesting in the study of the food webs in Mediterranean coastal lagoons, specifically in the intraspecific competence and predation in these systems (top down control). I have carried up filed experiments with microcosms and mesocosms.

I am also interesting in Mediterranean temporary ponds. In this topic, I study specifically the diversity of macrofauna (macroinvertebrates and amphibians) and their temporal succession. Furthermore, I have performed studies about diel migrations of zooplankton in Mediterranean temporary ponds.

I am also involved in a project for the restoration of Mediterranean salt marshes. The aim of these projects is to carry out a restoration of saltmarsh affected by building works for a residential estate. In this project, my objective is to check the effects of restauration on the aquatic community of the salt marsh.

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Xavier Quintana

My research is focussed in the ecology of aquatic communities in Mediterranean lagoons and salt marshes. I mainly study the factors affecting planktonic species composition and community structure in these ecosystems, where changes in salinity and trophic state are strongly affected by irregularities in hydrology, as are characteristic of Mediterranean climate.

I am interested on the importance of body size and on the analysis of the size distribution of aquatic organisms. I mainly apply the size-diversity for the analysis of the shape of the size distribution. The use of this size-based approach in the study of the community structure is one of my main research interests.

I am also involved in some applied projects for the restoration of Mediterranean salt marshes. The aim of these projects is to recover the ecological values of some coastal areas located in touristic zones.

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Dani Boix

The research I developed is focussed on the ecology of aquatic communities in Mediterranean temporary ponds. I mainly study the biotic and abiotic factors affecting species composition and community structure in these ecosystems, where changes in water turnover and hydroperiod length are strongly affected by Mediterranean climate.

Food webs dynamics of shallow waters are another of the topics of my research. I am also interested on the measurement of the biodiversity and the study of the local, regional and global factors which determine it.

I am also involved in some applied projects for the restoration of Mediterranean wetlands and ponds. The aim of these projects is to recover water ecosystems in areas where they have disappeared in order to improve the populations of aquatic species, mainly threatened ones such as amphibians.

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Stéphanie Gascón

My research deals with the ecology of aquatic communities in Mediterranean wetlands, including temporary ponds but also coastal marshes. I’m mainly interested on biotic and abiotic control of aquatic communities,from local to regional scale. To address this issue I use taxonomic but also functional approaches. I’m particularly interested in metacommunity dynamics, and how this dynamics coupled to biotic and abiotic factors shapes biodiversity patterns. I’m also interested in how external factors(e.g.nutrient inputs) can affect theenergy transferalongthe food web, and so influence the food webstructure. In this sense, I’m coordinating a project that analyzes the environmental key factors affecting food web structure and biomass size spectra in Mediterranean temporary ponds (RETROMED, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Project CGL2011-23907)).Although this project is mainly based on a field survey, I also have experience performing field experiments. I also like the statistical part of our work, since trying to find the best analysis to our different study designs is always a challenge. Finally, and as a member of the LIMNOLAM research group, I’m involved in some applied projects for the restoration of Mediterranean salt marshes. The aim of these projects is to recover the ecological values of some coastal areas located in touristic zones.

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David CunilleraWorking with Mediterranean temporary ponds, studying their faunal community and their ecosystem functioning. Alterations generated by perturbations such as wildfire (linked to climate change) and generated by restoration activities are my Ph.D. research topics. More specifically, their effects on faunal community and their consequences on network changes analyzing how connectivity and dispersion between ponds help to cope with these alterations.

Aiming to acquire more knowledge on Mediterranean temporary ponds, their conservation, biodiversity and ecological functioning but also on general ecology topics.Also interested in large branchiopods and their distribution, conservation and diversity in the Iberian Peninsula.

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My main interest is focused on the macrofaunalcommunities from Mediterranean temporary ponds. Specifically, I’ve been working on the relationships between pond sizeand community structure and composition. I also study the effect of some environmental filters such as salinity or altitude on the macrofaunacommunity. The effect of connectivity within metacommunities is also a topic I’m interested on.

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