w_Ecología del Plancton Marino y Estuarino

Marine and Estuarine Plankton Ecology (MEPE)


Department (s)
Plant Biology and Ecology and Applied Mathematics

Knowledge area
251001, 241705, 240106
PI: Fernando Villate Co-PI: Arantza Iriarte


Ibon Uriarte, Sergio Seoane, Aitor Laza Martinez, Iosu Madariaga, Gorka Bidegain, Estibalitz Txurruka, Ziortza Barroeta, Esther Blanco, Jone Bilbao


Phytoplankton, zooplankton, marine and estuarine environments, harmful algae, invasive species, time series, water quality, climate change


The MEPE CRG assembles the previous groups of Zooplankton Ecology (MarEsPlank) and Phytoplankton Ecology (FITEAC) since 2019. The group has experts in phytoplankton and zooplankton taxonomy, microalgae culturing and pigment analysis, and advanced statistical processing of ecological data, including time series analysis. The group is responsible for a long-term program of environmental and plankton monitoring initiated in 1997 in two contrasting estuaries of the Basque coast and also collaborates in studies on small pelagic fish ecology and shellfish farming. The group participates actively in ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) Working Groups, collaborates with the IGMETS (International Group of Marine Ecological Time Series) for the analysis and synthesis of global marine ecological changes, and provides references for EU directives on water quality.

Research lines

  1. Response of plankton communities to natural and anthropogenic environmental stressors
  2. Detection of long-term changes in planktonic ecosystems in relation to climate and main regional modes of climate-ocean variability
  3. Assessment of harmful algae, zooplanktonic invasions and ballast water risks
  4. Bioprospecting for natural products from microalgae.
  5. Phytoplankton taxonomy and pigments


  • Rigid-hull inflatable boat with outboard engine, and trailer
  • Field equipment for measuring in situ environmental variables and collecting water and plankton samples: multiparameter probe, oceanographic bottles, plankton nets
  • Stereo microscopes and inverted microscopes
  • Digital microscope cameras
  • Water filtration devices
  • Drying oven and muffle furnace (maximum temperature 600 °C)
  • HPLC
  • Devices for microalgae culturing

Website link