PhD Estación Biológica de Doñana

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Irene Paredes

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Irene Paredes

I commenced my PhD in October 2014 at the Department of Conservation Biology with a grant funded by “La Caixa” under the Severo Ochoa programme on the topic of water quality in the Doñana National Park. For the coming four years I will be working along with my supervisors Andy J. Green, Manuela G. Forero and Francisco Ramírez aiming to address the declining in water quality of the Doñana marshland system using a multidisciplinary approach where stable isotope approaches and quantifications of nutrient levels will be combined within a state-of-the-art GIS framework. The marshes of Doñana National Park are among the largest and well preserved Mediterranean marsh areas in Europe where wildlife and human activities have competed over decades for natural resources. This is particularly the case of water, a key resource that sustain the most important wetland complex in western Europe. However, in recent decades Doñana has suffered a rapid process of eutrophication associated with the development of agriculture and urban areas in the surroundings of the park which has reduced flow and increased nutrient inputs into the entry streams. The spatiotemporal characterization of the isotopic composition of different components of the ecosystem (e.g. plants and invertebrates) will provide valuable information on the specific origin of elements that is rarely obtainable with other methods. We will also analyse the relation between the land use changes occurred over the last decades with a historical data set of nutrient concentration across the marshes. In this context we expect to generate key information that will contribute to adapt the conservation management of the water resources of Doñana and be prepared for the ongoing trend in precipitation reduction affecting the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

Briefly some lines about my background: I completed my BSc and MSc degrees in Environmental Sciences at the Autónoma University of Madrid (Spain) and at Wageningen University (The Netherlands), respectively. I specialized in Aquatic Ecology and worked in different research projects regarding toxic phytoplankton studies, trophic transfers, bioremediation, microplastic pollution and catchment management.


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