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Welcome to the Aquatic Ecology research group

The Aquatic Ecology research group belongs to the Department of Ecology and Hydrology, placed at the Biology Faculty of the University of Murcia

Main research fields

Structure and functioning of Mediterranean aquatic ecosystems

Studying species composition and structure of aquatic Mediterranean communities, as well as the processes that determine their functioning, with special emphasis on saline streams and coastal rockpools.

Insect ecophysiology

To explore the performance of aquatic and cave insects to stressful environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, desiccation, etc.), considering their different life cycle stages.

Responses to global change

Predictive modeling to know the responses of species, populations and communities to natural and anthropogenic multi-stressors.

Biogeography and biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity inventories (mainly those referred to Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Mollusca); assigning species conservation priorities (e.g., red list of threatened species), and areas (e.g., biodiversity hotspots), assessing the role of protected areas in representing biodiversity attributes, etc.

Restoration of aquatic ecosystems

Riparian and river restoration plans, monitoring and evaluation of actions, invasive species control, ecological quality assessments, environmental flows.

Bioindicators

Design and use of different biotic indicators based on macroinvertebrates for the assessment of the ecological quality of aquatic ecosystems and the impact of human activities.

Publications

Projects

RockPools

In this project, we will especially focus on Ochthebius quadricollisO. subinteger and O. lejolisii (F. Hydraenidae) three coexisting water beetles living in Mediterranean coastal rockpools. These species have flight dispersal ability, but presumably low dispersal ability to large distances and, consequently, a high genetic variability among populations. Thus, this case study offers an ideal framework for integrating population genetic, ecophysiology and metacommunity ecology to explore spatial structure of beetle populations and understanding how local and regional factors interact to drive patterns of species coexistence and macroinvertebrate diversity.
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CAVEheAT

What would you do if you lived deep in an isolated cave which has remained at the same temperature for millions of years and you were not able to escape or take shelter in case the cave started to warm up? This may sound like the introduction of one of those “escape room” games so fashionable today, but it actually describes the situation of the inhabitants of deep subterranean environments. The species in these ecosystems cannot accommodate to changing conditions by behavioural plasticity, dispersal or microhabitat use so their only possibility to cope with climate change is to persist in situ. But, to what extent are they ready for such challenge?
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