RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

Climate research

Rocky shores are among the most thermally complex ecosystems in the world. We have been using remotely sensed and in situ data to characterise this complexity, assessing how much coastal areas have been warming, how temperature varies across scales, which are the main drivers of thermal variability, what is the thermal fingerprint of upwelling, or how do satellite-derived temperatures compare with temperatures measured at the shore. 

Atmosphere/sea interaction off the Irish coast
Atmosphere/sea interaction off the Irish coast

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Aerial view of Promenade, Spain, highlighting its geomorphology complexity
Aerial view of Promenade, Spain, highlighting its geomorphology complexity

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Layered rocks produce... layered microhabitats
Layered rocks produce... layered microhabitats

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Atmosphere/sea interaction off the Irish coast
Atmosphere/sea interaction off the Irish coast

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Innovative instruments

We always try to use the most up-to-date methodologies available. However, this often is not enough, and we feel compelled to improve methodologies and to create our own state-of-the-art instruments. In fact, this ability to build instruments tailored to very specific research questions has allowed us to measure temperature in radically new ways, and sometimes to observe environmental patterns that have never been described.

Downloading temperature data from an autonomous logger
Downloading temperature data from an autonomous logger

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Testing the effect of logger shape and colour on the registered temperatures
Testing the effect of logger shape and colour on the registered temperatures

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Using a drone to map temperature loggers in intertidal habitats
Using a drone to map temperature loggers in intertidal habitats

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Downloading temperature data from an autonomous logger
Downloading temperature data from an autonomous logger

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Biodiversity surveys

We are also innovating in the way biodiversity surveys are made. Through the incorporation of data from sensors available in anyone's smartphone (e.g., camera, magnetometer, accelerometer) we are creating digital assistants to ease and streamline the collection and organisation of research-grade complex biodiversity data from the field, even by non-specialists.

Developing improved methods for acquiring  photo-quadrat data
Developing improved methods for acquiring photo-quadrat data

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Manually validating photo-quadrat data
Manually validating photo-quadrat data

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Biodiversity uncovered by low tide
Biodiversity uncovered by low tide

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Developing improved methods for acquiring  photo-quadrat data
Developing improved methods for acquiring photo-quadrat data

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Biogeography

Our research has always been characterised by an effort to reconstruct the history of change of the distribution of coastal species and comminitie 

Over the last years we have been describing major biogeographic changes such as species invasions or extinctions, and seeking to understand the mechanistic link between those alterations and climate change. 

Registering the proportion of species with warm or cold affinities in the community
Registering the proportion of species with warm or cold affinities in the community

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A sampling quadrat in the low intertidal
A sampling quadrat in the low intertidal

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Patella rustica, a warm-water species until recently absent from the cold northern Portuguese coast
Patella rustica, a warm-water species until recently absent from the cold northern Portuguese coast

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Registering the proportion of species with warm or cold affinities in the community
Registering the proportion of species with warm or cold affinities in the community

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Physiology

Understanding the physiological constrains of specific populations reveals the mechanistic links between climate, biogeography and biodiversity.

We have been using several techniques, from molecular biology (e.g., Heat Shock Protein qualification and transcriptomics), to non-invasive cardiac performance monitoring (with instruments that we've developed). Some studies are performed in the field wile others are done under controlled conditions in collaboration with Dr. Francisco Arenas' lab at CIIMAR.

Experimental set-up to measure O2 consumption in the lab
Experimental set-up to measure O2 consumption in the lab

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Field-validation of the instrumentation to measure mollusk stress through cardiac frequency
Field-validation of the instrumentation to measure mollusk stress through cardiac frequency

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Recording the heartbeat of limpets in the field
Recording the heartbeat of limpets in the field

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Experimental set-up to measure O2 consumption in the lab
Experimental set-up to measure O2 consumption in the lab

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