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Research interests: wordle based on most common text from the abstracts of recent publications.

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding how organisms respond to environmental stress. In my research, I combine field studies with common garden experiments and laboratory analyses, using mostly amphibians as study models. My main current research topics are:

Effects and adaptation patterns to low-dose radiation in wildlife

On this research line, I examine the effects of the exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation in animals, both under natural and laboratory conditions. Within this topic, I investigate the effects of chronic exposure to human-released ionizing radiation on natural populations of amphibians in Chernobyl. I also study the effects of ionizing radiation under controlled, laboratory conditions in order to develop physiological and genetic tools for examining radiation effects and contribute to develop precise radiation assessment protocols. Examining how organisms respond to the chronic exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation can shed light on the debate over the effects of, and possible adaptive responses to, exposure to low-dose radiation in nature. Using a gradient of radioactive contamination inside and outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, I have conducted morphological, physiological and genomic studies on the Eastern treefrog (Hyla orientalis), the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), the microbial communities of aquatic environments, and soon we will start a new project on the Przewalski horses (Equus ferus przewalski) living in the area, as a model for examining rewilding processes in radio contaminated landscapes.


Evolutionary ecology of life-history strategies

This research line examines the impact of phenological variation on life history strategies in amphibians. In particular, I have examined the extent, costs and limits of plastic growth and development in amphibian larvae in a context of increasing phenological fluctuation. Main achievements of this line include the identification of the first unequivocal evidence for transgenerational plasticity in response to changes in breeding phenology in vertebrates; the identification of costs paid in offspring exhibiting fast development in response to delayed breeding phenology (e.g. reduced immune response and antipredator defences), and the impact that intra-specific priority effects have on the generalization of these responses.


At present, I am paying particular attention to the impact of phenological shifts on amphibian skin microbiome, and how this can be related to disease susceptibility. In particular, I am examining the variation in the amphibian skin microbiome across environmental gradients that lead to very different levels of time constraints (e.g. latitudinal and altitudinal gradients). Within this framework, I am also trying to identify probiotic microorganisms in the amphibian skin microbiome (i.e. the skin bacteria that kill fungus pathogens most effectively). I am also investigating the patterns of skin microbiome acquisition in amphibians due to its impact on the implementation of captive breeding programs effective at maintaining microbial diversity and, thus, health in amphibians.


My current position as Senior Researcher is funded by the “Ramón y Cajal Program” of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. My research is currently funded by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council-CSN and the British Ecological Society.

Previous research activities were funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, Fundación Ramón Areces, Fundación Caja Madrid, Fundación BBVA, Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Oscar och Lili Lamms Minne Stiftelse, Helge Ax:son Johnsons Stiftelse, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Carl Tryggers Stiftelsen and Stiftelsen för Zoologisk Forskning. I participate in the project “COordination and iMplementation of a pan-Europe instrumenT for radioecology project” funded by EU-FP7 (June 2013, PI: Hildegarde Vandenhove, Belgian Nuclear Research Centre).