In the field

Since 2008, I have participated in numerous research sampling campaigns in remote and incredibly beautiful places. During my Ph.D., I was fortunate to do some research at the “Reserva Biológica de Doñana“, included within the limits of the Doñana National Park, in Spain, and only accessible to researchers of the CSIC (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas). During those years, our team was in charge of monitoring the growth and concentration of cyanobacteria, microscopic algae that lived and grow in the water of the lakes in Doñana, where migratory birds stop to drink and rest on their way to Africa looking for warmer climate. Some groups of these cyanobacteria produce toxins lethal to fish and birds and massive deaths of these animals are observed during certain times of the year, especially when temperatures are high. Our group managed an “Early Alert Project” for the monitoring of the growth of these cyanobacteria to advise the Doñana Park management team of potential upcoming algal blooms.

During 2007-2009, I also participated in monthly research campaigns in the Guadalquivir River, in Spain, collecting samples from Sevilla to Cadiz to study the phytoplankton community as well as the evolution of different environmental parameter indicators of water quality, such as nutrients and oxygen or carbon dioxide levels. We wanted to understand the chemical and biological consequences of human activities in the Guadalquivir River.


I got involved in my first oceanographic cruise during my Ph.D, sailing from Galicia to Cartagena, in Spain, as part of a research team based at the Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucia.


I have since then participated in another three oceanographic expeditions after my arrival to the United States, as part of research groups in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. The last three cruises sailed through the low nutrient waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. My research interest during the last cruises has been the sampling of the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium, an ecologically important phytoplankton able to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and contributes greatly to the primary production in the ocean. I collect samples both with plankton nets and with bottles attached to a platform (the rosette) that can go down to depths up to 5,000 meters. We then pick Trichodesmium colonies one by one. I collected over 20,000 colonies during the last cruise in the North Atlantic Ocean!

During the oceanographic cruises you are days away from land, therefore, safety is important! We need to always try on our safety suits before every cruise starts. Can you put it on in 30 seconds? Kyle and I can.

Kyle and I checking the survival suits!



  • R/V Atlantic Explorer: Bermuda to Barbados. May 7th- May 28th. PABST (Phosphorus And Biogeochemical Signaling in Trichodesmium). Trichodesmium sp. sampling and on board incubations.
  • R/V Kilo Moana. Station Aloha (Hawaii).  June 10th – June 21st. 2013. C-MORE summer course “Microbial Oceanography: from genomes to biomes”.
  • R/V Kilo Moana. Station Aloha (Hawaii). August 4th -August 14th. 2012. Hawai Ocean Experiment. DYnamics of Light And Nutrients (HOE-DYLAN).
  • Freshwater sampling. Doñana Park. Spain. May 2008- September 2010 (sporadic sampling).
  • Freshwater sampling. Guadalquivir River. Spain, December 2007-August 2009. Monthly sampling. Investigating the consequences of the human activities in the Guadalquivir River.
  • R/V BIO-Hespérides. Porto to Cartagena. October 4th– October 22nd. 2008. P3A2 Oceanographic research cruise (Pelagic production at the Atlantic- Andalusien Platform).