Since 2000 my professional career has been focused on marine conservation.
The outburst of the first warming-related mass mortalities in the Mediterranean Sea at the beginning of the 2000's woke up my concern and curiosity. In addition, there was an urgent need to monitor and assess their impact on marine communities and their association to warming. As a result, I started to study the effects of climate change in marine organisms. Among other projects, I set up a monitoring program in the Columbretes Islands to study thermal anomalies in surface waters and their relation with the mortalities detected in the Mediterranean endemic coral Cladocora caespitosa. These long-term monitoring series allowed to describe and statistically prove, for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea, the long-term association between warming events and the mass mortalities of benthic invertebrates. The Columbretes data series are currently the longest of their kind in the Mediterranean Sea and probably worldwide.
I worked during 12 years as scientific coordinator in the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve (Spain), being responsible for the coordination of scientific teams, the development of scientific studies, and the implementation of scientific monitoring. Afterwards I have worked as researcher for the Department of Ecology of the University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), as well as freelance scientific consultant, undertaking studies for the Spanish Ministry of Environment and IUCN, among others.
My PhD, entitled "Ecology and conservation of the Mediterranean endemic coral Cladocora caespitosa", was defended in the University of Barcelona.
Currently, I work as researcher (Eigene Stelle) in the Working Group on Geobiology and Anthropocene Research (Section Paleontology, Freie Universität Berlin), where I am further developing my research on marine climate change and its impact on marine ecosystems under the DFG-funded project “Studying anthropogenic climate change in the Mediterranean Sea beyond instrumental data: the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa as bioindicator and archive of environmental and ecological changes”.
My scientific interests are focused on the impact of global change disturbances in marine ecosystems (mainly warming, but as well other disturbances such as invasive species and diseases), with special attention to key species and vulnerable communities; as well as in the role of MPAs as laboratories and conservation tools in the current context of global change.
Currently, I am highly interested in expanding our knowledge on global warming impacts by combining long-term data series on ecological responses and local water temperature with geochemical and schlerochronological proxies.
Over 40 communications in international congresses and conferences.
Studying anthropogenic climate change in the Mediterranean Sea beyond instrumental data: the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa as bioindicator and archive of environmental and ecological changes. Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG Project no. 401447620). PI. D. K. Kersting.