The research group Wetlands and Coastal Environments was created in 2008 (OCA # 1138/08) in the Department of Biology (Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata) with the aim of studying the structure and dynamics of wetlands and coastal environments of the SouthEastern Buenos Aires province, in order to provide information oriented to the conservation and sustainable use of these particular ecosystems. First investigations of the group were directed to the comprehensive characterization of wetlands through evaluations of their physical (temperature, pH, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity) and eco-physiological parameters (N, P, Si, chlorophyll a, phaeopigments), the dynamics of the phyto and zooplankton, and reproductive aspects of ecological and economically important crab species that characterize these systems.
Currently, the group tackles the general objective by including evaluations of the environmental quality of these systems and research on the effects of human activities (agriculture, cattle breeding, land use) on the dynamics of populations and communities that shape them, taking into account the (1) interactions among biotic and abiotic components, and (2) the effects of anthropogenic stressors such as acoustic contamination, nutrient load from terrestrial ecosystems, biological invasions and climate-change related factors such as ocean acidification.

The research lines being currently carried out include:
(1) Measuring trophic condition and environmental quality of wetlands through monitoring physical, chemical, biological and ecophysiological parameters.
(2) Use of indicator systems for the evaluation of the environmental quality of wetlands.
(3) Heavy metals distribution in wetlands and coastal habitats and their effects on the reproduction of brachyuran crabs.
(4) Toxicity assay in key crustacean species from the studied ecosystems.
(5) Reproductive biology, ecology and mating system of crustaceans, considering morphological, physiological and behavioral aspects at the individual and population levels.
(6) Effects of habitat structural changes induced by invasive species on the reproductive biology and ecology of representative intertidal crustaceans.
(7) Acoustic signals emitted by crabs during reproduction and territorial behavior and their masking effects due to anthropogenic sound.
(8) Consequences of different stressors (ocean acidification, invasive species, anthropogenic sound) on populations, biological interactions and functioning of coastal systems.

Director
Dra. Silvia de Marco
Researchers    
 
Dra. María Andrea Gavio
 
 
 
Dra. Ana Malizia
 
 
 
Dra. María Paz Sal Moyano
 
 
 
Dra. María Cielo Bazterrica
 
 
 
 
Dr. Fernado José Hidalgo
 
 
 
 
Dr. Sergio Bazzini
 
 
 
Lic. Micaela Vallina