Research Lines

Particular research lines of the founder researchers who have decided to combine their efforts to develop AIABAS

The broader and interdisciplinary research line that has emerged from the unified intellectual effort of the founders of AIABAS is described in the tab "Start". However, in addition, each one of the above-mentioned founders has his/her own set of research lines which are described below.

Ada M. Herrera García (Association President): I have an interdisciplinary training that combines a professional formation in biology (mainly addressed to the field of environmental science), plus a Ph.D. in bio-medicine, plus a technician degree in pharmacology. This combination promotes special capabilities in regard to the assessment of environmental factors on human health, for example, in the field of the study of the human body response to negative environmental influences by mean of urban-environment-stimulated inflammation processes. In addition, my main research and publication activity has been aimed, so far, to the study of ecological factors with a direct influence on human beings and the feedback processes they establish with the environment. Gradually, I have come to realize the need to develop an interdisciplinary, physics-based understanding of the operation of complex open systems away from equilibrium, in general. Therefore, my current research activity in cooperation with other scholars is also addressed to develop a non-contingent and internally consistent set of models in order to describe ecosystem functioning starting from empirically testable theoretical links between the principles of ecosystem ecology, thermodynamics, and statistical physics. The Organic Biophysics of Ecosystems (OBEC) encompasses the first set of models resulting from the above-mentioned interdisciplinary inquiry. The main part of the results from this effort are included in several articles published in the journals Ecological Modelling, Science of the Total Environment, and Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. The main advantage of the set of models mentioned above is its validity for almost any type of system capable of accumulating information autogenously and following a fractal structure.

Rodrigo Riera Elena (Association Secretary): My research interests have been focused in the last decade on the effects of man-induced alterations (harbors, aquaculture, pipelines, desalination plants, etc.) on the biodiversity and ecosystem function of the coastal marine assemblages. In recent years, I am broadly interested in small and large-scale patterns of coastal diversity to understand the role of species diversity, functional traits and interactions between species in the organization of marine benthic communities. Most of this work has focused on the impacts of fishing and climate change on marine ecosystems, and how to develop management solutions to help to conserve marine biodiversity. I integrated approaches from experimental ecology, functional ecology, behavioral ecology, together with taxonomy and quantitative statistical analysis. From these general research interests, my current themes include: (a) Use of bio-indicators to establish marine health in coastal areas according to WFD (Water Framework Directive) and MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). (b) The influence of biodiversity, food-web structure and environmental change and how they interact to affect coastal ecosystem processes. (c) Understand the role of human impact on coastal reefs (fishes and invertebrates). (d) Pristine, including MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) areas, as marine biodiversity hot-spots and baseline for future environmental monitoring studies. (e) Resilience of coastal organisms in affected and non-affected coastal ecosystems. (f) Taxonomic, ecologic and functional biodiversity on marine ecosystems, with special emphasis comparing affected and non-affected coastal areas.

Ricardo A. Rodríguez de la Vega (
Research Associate Member):  My current research goal is to achieve a synthetic approach in the fields of ecosystem ecology and econophysics. In order to reach this goal, it is necessary to complete and expand an empirically testable set of interdisciplinary models. These models, given their non-contingent, and scale-independent structure, should be equally valid to analyze the economic system and its essential interactions with the natural environment, by using a new theoretical framework commonly shared by both sciences (ecology and economics). The preliminary results of this research are being published. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to obtain a complete theoretical framework fruitful to develop new sub-fields in ecology, economics, as well as well as in physics itself, based on relatively simple mathematical methods.