Viladrich, Núria

Viladrich, Núria

Postdoc Marie-Curie Global (UB)

My research line is focused on coral and gorgonians’ reproduction and energetics, primarily about their relationship with species resilience and resistance to natural and human induced impacts.

This research is developed following a multidisciplinary approach combining fieldwork, experimental studies and laboratory analysis, as the best way to achieve an understanding of the complex ecological phenomena. In this sense, my research encompasses the study of the reproductive processes of coral and gorgonian species, their larval ecology, nutritional condition (biochemical characterization), trophic ecology (fatty acids and stable isotopes), ecophysiology (respiration, excretion and calcification), quantification and characterization of their symbiotic algae, as well as the viability of the ecological restoration of their populations. Thanks to the intensive fieldwork carried during my research, I acquired a sound preparation in SCUBA diving sampling (more than 1000 logged dives). Moreover, I also achieve experience in aquaria set-up and maintenance of coral and larvae. Combining in situ and ex situ studies, I allow a comprehensive understanding of the ecology and the variability of the coral and larvae responses to environmental features and human induced stressors.

My research experience began with development of a research project on coral capture rates to obtain my Master’s degree in Marine Sciences: Oceanography and Marine Management at the Universitat de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain). During my PhD thesis at the Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals (Barcelona, Spain), biochemical, ecophysiological and ecological approaches were combined to better comprehend the energetics of corals and gorgonians’ reproductive activity and larval stage. I studied how reproductive strategy interacts with environmental variability to influence reproduction and stress vulnerability in Mediterranean octocorals. My research has been further enriched by acquiring knowledge about the study of the influence of thermal stress and trophic ecology on the reproductive success and larval viability of Mediterranean octocorals by means of aquaria experiments during my postdoctoral position at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (Barcelona, Spain). In the frame of Rescap project, I directly applied my research to the conservation and management policies of marine ecosystems, with a direct repercussion on the society, studying the viability of ecological restoration of octocoral populations from transplantation of by-catch gorgonians obtained from artisanal fishermen during my postdoctoral position at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (Barcelona, Spain). Recently, I continued my research career as postdoc Global Fellowship Marie-Curie at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) and the Universitat de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain). In these two institutions, I was allowing to continue my work on ecophysiology and marine conservation, learn new genetic and modelling skills and expand my international network and my research to other geographic areas. Now, I am taking part in different projects focused on the study of the biodiversity in the Cabo Verde and Mediterranean coralligenous community.

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