Ecology and Coastal Management

Ecology and Coastal Management

The Department of Ecology and Coastal Management includes two research groups: Ecosystems Oceanography; and Ecotoxicology, Ecophysiology and Biodiversity of Aquatic Systems.

The main aim of the Department is to advance in the understanding of the physical and biological mechanisms occurring in coastal, estuarine and open ocean ecosystems, and in the application of this knowledge in terms of integrated protection of coastal zones and marine basins at higher spatial scales.


The Ecosystems and Oceanography research group carries out projects aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of the responses of the coastal zone both to human actions and to accelerating climate change, by means of the thorough analysis of interactions between marine biogeochemical cycles and the pelagic ecosystem. Projections of future scenarios are produced and studied. Specific targets for this research comprise:

  • Air-water CO2 exchange and carbon balance in coastal waters, including estuaries and wetlands.

  • Atlantic/Mediterranean biogeochemical exchanges through the Strait of Gibraltar and long term monitoring in this key location.

  • Development of new technologies for observation of the oceans.

  • Physical-biological coupling at different scales.

  • Modelling ecosystems and their uncertainty using advanced Bayesian tools and other techniques.

Isabel Emma Huertas Cabilla, Gabriel Navarro Almendros, Laura Prieto Gálvez, José Luis Oviedo Pro, Isabel Caballero de Frutos,

Technical staff
Susana Rodríguez Gálvez, María Ferrer Marco, Raúl García Cruz.


The research group on Ecotoxicology, Ecophysiology and Biodiversity of Aquatic Systems studies the contamination and degradation processes of the coastal aquatic systems, by measuring the effects of xenobiotics released to the environment (legacy pollutants such as metals, surfactants, herbicides and pesticides, as well as emergent pollutants such as pharmaceuticals andr nanoparticles), and by the structural analysis of benthic coastal communities, taking into account the possible presence of exotic species among the benthic fauna. The group explores the interactions among the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere and anthroposphere involving environmental aspects of geochemistry.

The main objectives of this research group are:

  • To study the effects, identification and quantification of different pollutants on marine and estuarine organisms belonging to diverse trophic levels, such as microalgae, annelids, crustaceans and molluscs).

  • To identify the taxonomic structure of the coastal and estuarine biocenosis, and to monitor the presence of exogenous components in these ecosystems (invader species).

  • To study the biogeochemical cycles of metals and nutrients, with their implications for water and sediment quality and ecosystems.

Julián Blasco Moreno, José A. Cuesta Mariscal, Ignacio Moreno Garrido, Antonio Tovar Sánchez, Enrique González Ortegón, Cristiano V. de Matos Araujo, Ciro Rico,

Technical staff
María del Carmen Agulló Cornejo, Carlos Sánchez Nieto, Isabel Carribero Pérez.