Meet the team – Maria Cuenca postdoc at UVic

Nov 26, 2021

Hi! I am Maria, an aquatic ecologist specializing in zooplankton communities, eco-evolutionary dynamics, trophic interactions, and ecosystem functions. My research focuses on understanding the impact of human-driven global change on species and ecosystems, with particular attention on freshwater ecosystems. I completed my PhD at the University of Birmingham, under Dr. Luisa Orsini supervision, where I studied the evolutionary responses of the species Daphnia magna to environmental changes, including eutrophication and temperature increase, over the past 100 years. After my PhD, I moved to Switzerland as an EMBO postdoctoral fellow, with Dr. Blake Matthews’ group at Eawag, where I studied the responses of zooplankton communities to fish pressures and changes in nutrient concentration by using artificial ponds and time series analysis.

Currently, I am a postdoc at the University of Vic, Spain, in the Aquatic Ecology Group led by Prof. Sandra Brucet. I am part of the PONDERFUL project and involved in work package two. I lead the sampling campaign, data collection, the laboratory analysis and the statistical analysis carried out in Spain. I am also part of the integrative data analysis of the temporary ponds across Europe as part of the stratified data collection from the different groups of PONDERFUL. We investigate the effect of climate change and land use on ponds with different hydroperiods, and how the loss of biodiversity in those key environments could affect the ecosystems services they provide.

PONDERFUL represents an incredible opportunity to increase our knowledge on ponds as key ecosystems for biodiversity and society and to study their potential role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Being part of PONDERFUL is being part of an inspiring community of scientists with a common goal: the protection of nature and its biodiversity. This has been the central line of my career; how we can gain knowledge about the ecosystems surrounding us and use this information to increase the protected areas and the management measures that will safeguard the biodiversity in equilibrium with society.

I am looking forward to continuing working in PONDERDUL, meeting all the members of the project and interchanging knowledge and ideas to achieve the objectives of this wonderful PONDERFUL project.

By Maria Cuenca Cambronero (UVic)