My main research line attempts to understand the mechanisms underlying the structure of marine microbial communities and their impact on global biogeochemical cycles, using a combination of oceanographic, biochemical, molecular, physiological and ‘omics’ approaches. I am particularly interested on assessing the physiological status of microbial cells in the environment as well as the heterogeneity in their levels of activity, and for this reason I am investing a considerable effort towards improving methodologies to link identity and function within microbial assemblages, with a particular focus on techniques that allow the visualization of the cells and other microbial processes. I am also fascinated by the ecology of deep ocean communities, and how prokaryotes live and survive in this ecosystem completely isolated from sunlight, the main source of energy in our planet.
During my career I have moved from a pure oceanographic background to specializing on microbes at the single-cell level. I received my B.S in Marine Sciences from the University of Cádiz in 1996 and, after completing a master in the department of Ecology, I went on to the PhD program at the University of Malaga, working on the marine phosphorus cycle and the physiological status of bulk microbial communities. In 2005, I moved as a postdoctoral fellow to Rutgers University in New Brunswick (USA) for four years, funded by the Ministry of Science-Fulbright and a Marie Curie OIF action to explore the phosphorus starvation response of marine bacteria at the molecular level. In 2009, I started working at the ICM-CSIC in Barcelona as a postdoctoral fellow, investigating the role of different bacterioplankton groups in the phosphorus cycle at the single-cell level and widespread strategies to reduce phosphorus requirements in marine bacteria. Later I expanded my focus when I got involved in large scale sequencing projects, like the global circumnavigation Malaspina2010 looking at factors that determine the diversity and metabolic potential of marine microbial communities. In 2017 I obtained a Viera y Clavijo contract at the Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global (ULPGC) and I am currently back at the ICM-CSIC. In the last years I have been working on the ecology of rare prokaryotes and the heterogeneity in the physiological status of cells in the environment, with a particular focus in deep ocean communities.
Funding entity: FEDER + MINECOStart: 01/10/2015End: 30/09/2018
Funding entity: MINECOStart: 01/01/2013End: 31/12/2015