Research and outreach interests
Throughout my scientific career, I have addressed several aspects related to the ecology of marine zooplankton. During my doctoral thesis (1993-1997) I focused on the study of techniques for the estimation of secondary production and the function of mesozooplankton (mostly copepods) in the dynamics of marine ecosystems. From this period, I would highlight some conclusive contributions related to the study of the relevance of the food availability for zooplankton in comparison with other environmental variables in natural ecosystems, a recurrent theme of debate throughout these last decades. During my post-doctorate at the University of Hawaii, USA (1997- 1999) my scientific interests acquired a more global and ecological character and I focused my efforts on the study of the mesozooplankton function in the dynamics of marine pelagic trophic webs, a line of research to which even today I dedicate part of my time. Also, during my postdoctorate, I focused on the study of the function of microzooplankton in pelagic food webs. This is the line that defines my current research, and which I intend to continue developing in the future. Some of my work in the field of marine microzooplankton ecology is used today as an obligated reference when describing the relevance of this group in the flow of matter and energy in the marine ecosystem. From a first generalist approach, that I started during my Ramon y Cajal postdoctoral contract, I have gradually tried to open the black box of the microzooplankton and estimate the specific function of some of its groups (or species) in the plankton trophic networks. Once I got a permanent position as a scientific researcher in 2006 (upgraded to scientific investigator in 2009) I have been quite interested in studying particular aspects of the ecophysiology of microzooplankton in response to ambient variables. My latest interest is in the role of mixotrophy in the marine food web and in the effects of climate change variables on the microzooplankton community. During my research, I mentored 7 master/DEA, 6 Ph. D.s (3 more in progress), and 25 students and technicians. I participated in several national and international panels of experts as an advisor on project funding, and as an editorial board member of several scientific journals, such as J Plankton Res., Sci. Rep., Frontiers in Marine Sciences and Marine Sciences and Engineering. I have also been deputy director of the ICM (2018- 2020).
I also participated in multiple outreach activities, such as conferences, open doors, fairs, etc. I manage the blog PlanktonOcean.com, the Instagram channel #PlanktonOcean (https://www.instagram.com/planktonocean/), and the Facebook page Marine Zooplankton Ecology Lab (www.facebook.com/ZooplanktonEcology). I collaborate with outreach articles for Divulcat.cat. Fundació Catalana per la Recerca i la Innovació y Enciclopèdia Catalana. In total, I conducted more than 50 contributions to posts, outreach articles, or outreach books.