Olalla López-Costas

Sabela Balboa

Patricia Sanmartín

Sebastián Villasante


Detection and characterization of enteric viruses and bacteria.

– Detection and genetic characterization of enteric viruses and bacteria in biological and environmental samples and evaluation of their infectivity and toxicity by cell culture.

– Use of plant viruses and bacteriophages to diagnose the presence and extent of fecal contamination in aquatic systems.

– Identification of the origin of fecal contamination detected in environmental samples by means of “Microbial Source Tracking” techniques.


    Biodiversity inventories based on molecular techniques.

    • Extraction, quantification and purification of DNA from biotic communities.
    • Inventory and monitoring of biological communities by barcoding (metazoa, diatoms), metabarcoding (metazoa, diatoms, bacteria and fungi) and eDNA techniques.
    • Early detection of species of interest (e.g. invasive alien species).

     Analysis of spatio-temporal variation of biological diversity.

    • Development of metrics for the characterization, quantification and comparison of biological communities in natural and degraded environments.
    • Statistical analysis and modelling of large databases of species distributions and conservation status.
    • Integrated analysis of diversity patterns at multiple taxonomic and phylogenetic scales.

     Analysis of human impact on biodiversity.

    • Assessment of the impact of anthropogenic activities on the distribution and abundance of species and the composition of biological communities.
    • Assessment of the coherence and complementarity of protected and/or threatened areas. Identification of priority areas for conservation.
    • Identification of areas at high risk of invasion by exotic species.



      • Methodological development and implementation of biomonitoring techniques with different organisms (cryptogams, phanerogams, animals) in terrestrial, aquatic and coastal environments.
      • Estimation of regional background levels, preoperational, etc. for potentially toxic elements (PTEs), PAHs and other organics.
      • Use of bryophytes (both in active and passive biomonitoring techniques) for the diagnosis of the presence and extent of contaminated areas (i.e. PTEs, PAHs and other organics) emitted to inland waters (i.e. PTEs, PAHs and other organics).
      • Use of bryophytes (both in active and passive biomonitoring techniques) for the diagnosis of the presence and extent of contamination areas produced by atmospheric pollution sources (i.e. PTEs, PAHs and other organics).
      • Use of brown algae (both in active and passive biomonitoring techniques) for the diagnosis of the presence and extent of contamination areas produced by sources of atmospheric pollution (i.e. PTEs, PAHs and other organics).
      • Determination of biomagnification factors in fluvial, terrestrial and intertidal ecosystems.
      • Assessment of pollution effects using biomonitors (e.g. physiological alterations, genetic variability, stress biomarkers, etc.).


      • Characterization and mapping of air pollution patterns on a regional scale and in the vicinity of potential pollution hotspots.
      • Base maps of pollutants (i.e. EPTs, PAHs and other organics) of cities.

       Planning of green spaces in urban areas

      • Identification locality-specific urban ornamental species with maximum capacity to eliminate atmospheric PAHs. Recommendations for planting and management (i.e. pruning, etc.) to maximize the removal of PAHs from the atmosphere.


        •  Methodological development and implementation of bioarchaeology techniques in human, non-human animal and plant remains from archaeological contexts.
        • Use of archaeological remains to estimate the impact of pollution of anthropogenic origin on long time scales.
        • Effects of climate change on human nutrition.
        • Introduction of new crops, grazing strategies and use of wood.
        • Study of the development of epidemics and the relationship between humans and pathogens.
        • Characterization of children’s health over time, gender perspective in lifestyle.
        • Experimental archeology and ethnoarchaeology, current models for the study of the past and improvement of the future.
        • Works with species of animals and plants comparing present conditions with those of the last thousands of years.


          Actividade financiada polo Convenio de Colaboración entre a Consellería de Cultura, Educación e a USC para o desenvolvemento de accións estratéxicas de I+D+i.