Dr Irene Gallego
Former collaborator - PostDoc
I am an aquatic ecologist with experience in the analysis of freshwater primary producers assemblages in ponds and reservoirs. During my Ph.D. thesis, I studied phytoplankton and macrophytes dynamics in ponds, with special focus on the environmental and spatial processes in structuring communities. Since April 2015, I hold a post-doctoral fellowship in the Microbial Ecology group, at the Department F.-A. Forel. My present research focuses on fundamental ecology, and I aim to answer questions such as: why are there so many coexisting species of phytoplankton in lakes? Which processes (stabilizing vs. equalizing) are more suitable to predict species stable coexistence? I am mainly interested in analysing the effect of cell size as the key functional trait to explain mechanisms of stable coexistence in phytoplankton species, and I am testing my hypotheses experimentally and using existing datasets collected in the frame of the EU project I am collaborating (NETLAKE).
My expertise integrates field work in shallow ecosystems, phytoplankton taxonomic identifications, multivariate statistics and the assessment of the ecological status of waterbodies in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive. Recently, I have gathered experience in algal culturing techniques. I had research stays at four universities and research institutes (KU Leuven, NERI-Aarhus University, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm University). I am (co)author of 19 ISI-indexed publications, and I have been a reviewer for Journal of Ecology (2016), Hydrobiologia (2015), Freshwater Biology (since 2014), Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Limnetica and Environmental Technology (since 2013).