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ESR 12: Nuria Isabel Rubio Morales

Country of origin: Mexico

Host institution: Spanish National Research Council – Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes


About me

Nuria attained a BSc in Biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a thesis on black widow spider alpha-latrotoxin cloning and expression in bacterial vectors, and an MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis from the University of Edinburgh.

After graduating from college, Nuria worked with a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the Lacandona Rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico; coordinating the Payment for Environmental Services program. Working with rural communities, she acknowledged the complicated equilibrium between biodiversity conservation, human welfare, and public policy; and how much accurate scientific information is required to optimise natural resource management and secure the provision of environmental services. Therefore, for her MSc dissertation, she used experimental evolution and statistical modelling to assess the adaptation of marine phytoplankton communities to high CO2 environments to develop an understanding on how marine communities will respond to climate change.

Currently, Nuria is PRORISK ESR 12 and a PhD student in the Doctoral Program of Water Science and Technology of the University of Girona, with Dr Anna Romani from the University of Girona and Dr Helena Guasch at the Centre of Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB) as co-supervisors. ESR12 focuses on assessing structural and functional changes in fluvial biofilms in response to contaminants and helping to translate these changes into ecosystem service loss.


Project title: Translating community change to ecosystem services provision
Objectives: Develop ecosystem service assessment endpoints in fluvial biofilms.
Validate experimental fluvial mesocosms for ERA based on multiple-scale responses to contaminants.
Select most sensitive functional and structural approaches best linked to ecosystem services.
Develop/validate multi-metric model predicting ecological damages affecting ecosystem services based on set of alterations.
Expected results: Multiple functional responses of natural “ecosystem” model, i.e. aquatic biofilms, including both autotrophs, heterotrophs in microbial food web, incl. general ecosystem processes and more specific responses, and nutrient cycling.
Impact of chemicals on biofilm community composition.
Greater understanding of chemical-induced effects on microbial communities (fluvial biofilms) structural and functional endpoints translates into specific ecosystem services loss (collaboration with ESR 11 and ESR 13).
Place: Blanes - Girona, Spain
Planned secondments: USFD, M18, 3 months, parallels in functioning and ecosystem services responses in soils and aquatic organisms
Consulteco, M30, 1 month – principles of EIA, linking results to socioeconomic analyses
Work package: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisors: Dr. Helena Guasch, CSIC-CEAB
Dr. Anna Maria Romaní, UdG
Prof. Dr. Lorraine Maltby, USFD
Dr. Radka Vokurkova, Consulteco
Host institution: Spanish National Research Council – Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes
Enrolment: University of Girona

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