• Associate Professor
• Department: Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry
• Center: Faculty of Biology (USC)
• Research Group: Soil and landscape mapping, physico-chemical, soil and water degradation and recovery (AMBIOSOL)
• Tel .: +34 881 811 000
• Email:
• Group Web:
• Scientific Profile: Orcid

Doctor in Biological Sciences from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) in 2000, with the thesis Biogeochemistry of heavy metals in marine sedimentary environments that received the José María Albareda award that the Spanish Society of Soil Science annually awards to the best doctoral thesis. In 2001 I obtained a position of Assistant Professor, in 2005 that of Contracted Professor and since 2018 I have been a Full Professor at the USC. I have been part of the Ambiosol research team at USC since 1998. I teach Environmental Geochemistry classes in the Master at the University of Vigo, National Polytechnic University (Ecuador) and University of Sao Paulo. Since 1993 I have focused my research on the study of geochemical processes in coastal environments such as the estuary systems and marshes, but also in tropical environments such as mangroves in Venezuela and Brazil, and in the Brazilian swamp. In addition, I also carry out work in extremophilic media such as the Guaymas hydrothermal pit (Gulf of California); cold environments such as Antarctica and Andes soils in Ushuaia (Argentina) and mining environments (Spain, Mexico and Brazil). My interest is mainly focused on knowing the environmental implications of the (bio) geochemical processes that occur in soils, sediments and waters in different geochemical scenarios. Within this field I have collaborated with researchers from different universities, both national and foreign, such as: University of Nebraska (USA), Louisina University (USA), University of Washington (USA) University of Southern Denmark, Swansea University (UK), University Lisbon, University of the Algarve, Water NSW (Australia), University of Baja California (Mexico), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Federal do Ceará, University of Sao Paulo, Federal Rural University of Pernanbuco.

I have been the main researcher (IP) of several Competitive Call Projects financed by different organizations such as Xunta de Galicia, Government of Spain or the BBVA Foundation. I have also been IP of international projects developed in Latin America such as Bioaccessibility of arsenic and toxic metals in rice paddies in Ecuador and irrigation for human health.

Throughout my scientific-technical activity, I have directed a total of 8 doctoral theses, 24 end-of-degree or master projects, I have published 161 articles, 87 of which are in international JCR journals, some of them of high impact such as Nature Communication. . I have participated in 36 research projects of which in 10 of them I have been a principal investigator and have made 60 technical reports related to environmental assessment and recovery.

Lines of investigation
• Soil Science
I participate in works related to the chemical properties and mineralogical composition of soils. Spatial variation of soils and their quality.
– Soil classification and mapping
– Soil quality

• Biogeochemistry
I study the geochemical behavior of Fe, Mn and S in hydromorphic media and its relationship with the mobility of toxic elements and eutrophication. I am also especially interested in studying alteration processes in cold environments and extremophic areas such as hydrothermal, hyperacid or hypersaline media.
– Biogeochemicals in wetlands
– Sublines: Biogeochemistry of cold zones and extremophile media

• Littoral processes
I study the soil / plant relationship in marshy environments and lagoons. I also study the environmental implications of sea level rise on the mobilization of biolimiters and toxic elements in coastal systems. Another aspect that is being studied is the dynamics of nutrients and metals in seabird colonies.
– Geochemistry of marshy media
– Environmental implications of seabird colonies

Current Projects
• Effect of yellow-legged gull colonies on the loss of biodiversity in the Terrestrial Maritime National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia (01.10.2016 – 03.30.2018). BBVA Foundation (Reference Code, pending signing by the USC). IP: X.L. Knoll. € 39,345
• Bioavailability of arsenic and toxic metals in rice paddies in Ecuador and its incidence on human health (03/01/2016 – 02/28/2018). National Polytechnic University of Ecuador (Cod. PIJ 15-10). IP: Ruales / X.L. Knoll. $ 78,936
• Advances in sampling techniques, biogeochemical characterization, and quantification of millenary marine phanerogam deposits (SUMILEN) (Date: 12/01/2014 – 12/31/2018). Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. State Program of Research, Development and Innovation Oriented to the Challenges of Society. IP: Miguel Ángel Mateo Mínguez (CEAB-CSIC). € 185,945.

Leading indicators
• JCR Research Publications: 87
• H index: 26
• Citations: 2140
• Books: 4
• Book chapters: 45

Most relevant publications
From the Peña Lastra; Pérez-Alberti, A .; Otero, X.L.2019. Enrichment of trace elements in colonies of yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis) in the Atlantic Islands National Park (Galicia-NW Spain) Science of Total Environment. Elsevier. pp. 1536-1548

Xose Luis Otero Pérez; et al. 2018. Seabird colonies as important global drivers in the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles Nature Communication. Springer. 9-246, pp. 1-8.

Otero, X.L .; et al. 2018. Trace elements in biomaterials and soils from a yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) colony in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (NW Spain) Marine Pollution Bulletin. Elsevier. pp. 144-149.

Xose Luis Otero; et al. 2017. High fragility of the soil organic C pools in mangrove forests.Marine Pollution Bulletin. Springer. 119, pp. 460-464

Otero, X. L; W. Earth; O. Atiaga, D. Guanoluisa, L. Nunes, T.O. Ferreira, J. Ruales, .Arsenic in rice agrosystems (water, soils and rice plants) in Guayas and Los Ríos provinces, Ecuador. Science of Total Environment 2016, 573: 778-787

Otero, X. L .; O. Tejada, M. Martín, S. de la Peña, T. O. Ferreira, A. Pérez-Alberti. Phosphorus in seagull colonies and the effect on soil, water and habitats. The case of yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (NW Spain). Science of Total Environment 2015 .: 532: (1) 383-397.

Otero, X. L .; Fernández, S .; De Pablo., M .; Nizolli, E .; Quesada, A. Plant communities as a key factor in biogeochemical processes involving micronutrients (Fe, Mn, Co, and Cu) in Antarctic soils (Byers Peninsula, maritime Antarctica). Geoderma 2013, 195-196: 145-154.

Santín, C .; Yamashita, Y., Otero, X. L., F., Álvarez, M. A., Jaffé, R. Characterizing humic substances from estuarine soils and sediments by excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy and parallel factor analysis. Biogeochemistry 2009 96: 131-147.

Lambais, M. R., Otero, X.L., Cury, J. Microbial diversity and their potential relationships with geochemical processes in a saltmarsh soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 2008, 40: 2854-2864.