An Innovative Strategy
to Study Global Change
Environmental changes drive evolution through natural selection. Currently, different factors (notably human activity) are speeding up the pace of Global Change, challenging the genetic ability of many species to respond and adapt accordingly. Fortunately, organisms have additional strategies to rapidly acclimatize to environmental stressors, involving modifications in the organization of their hereditary material modulating the expression of specific genes. These are Epigenetic modifications, and they do not involve changes (i.e., mutations) in the DNA. Interestingly, acquired epigenetic changes can be inherited, providing the offspring with a head start to successfully survive and reproduce under Global Change.
to Address Global Problems
The central goal of our research is to investigate the cause-effect relationships between environmental stressors resulting from global change (e.g., harmful algal blooms, nutrient loading, ocean acidification, thermal stress, etc.) and the subsequent epigenetic mechanisms regulating physiological responses in marine life. For that purpose, we develop fieldwork and laboratory experiments using model and non-model organisms, including molluscs, cnidarians, sharks and marine mammals. We are primarily interested in studying the epigenetic contribution of chromatin components (e.g., histones and their modifications), although our research also addresses the role of DNA methylation and small RNAs. This research will help us better understand how Epigenetics facilitate physiological responses to stress in marine organisms, setting the basis for improving current restoration and management strategies.
Depth and Breadth
Our research is the result of sheer dedication fueled by the genuine enthusiasm of a fine team of highly skilled researchers and students. No scientific program can thrive without collaboration, that is why ours fosters multidisciplinary knowledge across fields and beyond boundaries.
Our work fulfills a dual purpose: on one hand, it addresses basic questions advancing scientific knowledge; on the other, our research builds the framework for developing applied methods to curb the effects of Global Change on marine life.
The collective effort of our team has brought recognition for students and researchers at all levels. We take a lot of pride in such distinctions and strive to live up to the expectations deposited in our work.