Isabel Ferrera


Present lab members and supervised students:


Ana María Cabello, PhD, is a marine microbial ecologist who specialized during her thesis at the ICM-CSIC in the study of the diversity, abundance and distribution of picoplanktonic algae groups. Subsequently she worked at AZTI and at UCSC (University of California Santa Cruz) and  her line of research opened to the study of cyanobacteria to evaluate their activity (gene expression) both in laboratory manipulation experiments and in environmental samples. She is currently a research associate at IEO Málaga where she applies omics and other molecular techniques to the study of marine plankton, especially those size fractions that cannot be identified and quantified with classical techniques (pico-phytoplankton and bacterioplankton).


Guillermo Domínguez-Huerta, PhD, is a virologist and specialist in environmental viruses. He began his scientific career studying the evolution of quasispecies of begomoviruses causing the tomato yellow leaf curl disease at the Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture “La Mayora” (joint institute between CSIC and the University of Malaga). Subsequently, he joined Matthew Sullivan’s research group at Ohio State University, where he studied marine and soil RNA virus ecology using data from the Tara Oceans and Stordalen Mire. Guillermo is interested in understanding how viruses impact natural ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at IEO Málaga and studies the ecology of virioplankton communities in the Alboran Sea and the Mar Menor using bioinformatics methods.


Elizabeth León Palmero, PhD, is a microbial ecologist and biogeochemist specialist in N2O and CH4 cycling. She started her scientific career studying the production and emission of greenhouse gases in freshwater reservoirs at the University of Granada. Her PhD thesis was awarded by The Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL) and later by the European Federation for Freshwater Sciences. Afterwards, she joined the Nordcee group at the University of Southern Denmark to investigate the production and consumption of N2O in the Baltic Sea and in the Greenland Sea. Currently, she is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow in the outgoing phase in Bess B. Ward Lab at Princeton University, focusing on the oceanic oxygen minimum zones. During the incoming phase she will my team at the IEO Málaga, to study the microbial N2O cycling in the Mar Menor lagoon. Elizabeth’s main interest is to characterize the biotic and abiotic processes that lead to the production of N2O in aquatic environments by applying biogeochemical and metagenomic analysis. Elizabeth’s main interest is to characterize the biotic and abiotic processes that lead to the production of N2O in aquatic environments by applying biogeochemical and metagenomic analysis.



Carlota Ruiz Gazulla is a biotechnologist specialized in microbial ecology. In her thesis, she studies the ecological patterns of photoheterotrophic bacteria in the global ocean. She uses molecular biology and bioinformatics techniques, epifluorescence microscopy and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). She is finishing her PhD, that I co-supervise and currently hired in the framework of the NITROMAR project, to study the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen in phytoplankton blooms in the Mar Menor, using quantitative PCR (qPCR), as well as the microbial communities involved in this process.




Jorge J. Santos-Bruña started his research career with the study of mesoscale convective phenomena (DANA) through meteorological modeling at the University of Alicante. During his collaboration grant he was developing an IoT architecture for the physicochemical monitoring of coral crops. During his MSc in oceanography, he showed interest in the study of plankton and its relationships with biogeochemical cycles, collaborating in projects on the development of ocean-based carbon sequestration (CDR) technologies. Recently, he joined our team through the JAE Intro grant, and studies the diversity and distribution of photoheterotrophic bacteria in the Alboran Sea.



Silke Martínez Moreno is a biologist specialising in the study of holobionts. She is conducting her thesis at the University of Granada on echinoderm holobionts and their ecosystem functions in coastal areas, supervised by Dr. Isabel Reche and by myself. She conducts studies of the microbial communities of holobionts looking for phylogenetic and/or environmental patterns. She also studies the possible functionalities of holobionts related to the nitrogen cycle using PCR and ddPCR techniques.



Former supervised PhD students:

Adrià Auladell

Adrià Auladell, PhD, is currently a postdoc at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (IBE-UPF-CSIC) in Barcelona. He is interested in the ecology of marine microbes, in bioinformatics and biostatistics. He conducted his PhD at Institut de Ciències Marines (ICM-CSIC, Barcelona) supervised by myself and by Pep Gasol. His thesis focused in understanding the ecology of microbial communities on a temporal basis through studying their seasonal patterns in the Blanes Bay Microbial Observatory, using 16S rRNA gene amplicons and metagenomic datasets. He cares deeply about open access science and the need of code literacy in the scientific world in general. When he is not science-doing, he is either worrying about climate change or climbing mountains.


Former supervised MSc students:

Rocio Blanca Sújar. Masters in Conservation, Management and Restoration of Biodiversity. University of Granada. TFM: El biofilm asociado al holobionte Holothuria tubulosa. 23/09/2022. Co-supervised with Isabel Reche, UGR

Silke Martínez Moreno. Masters in Conservation, Management and Restoration of Biodiversity. University of Granada. TFM: Microbioma del mucus y subcutícula en el holobionte Holothuria tubulosa: evidencias de desnitrificación. 20/07/2021. Co-supervised with Isabel Reche, UGR.

Daniel Baños Picazo. Masters in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Barcelona. TFM: Growth rates and diversity of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in the Mediterranean Sea. 12/09/2018. Co-supervised with Olga Sánchez, UAB.

David Funosas Planas. Masters in Bioinformatics, Pompeu Fabra University. TFM: Study on the potential use of planktonic communities as bioindicators in the NW Mediterranean Coast. 04/07/2018.

Sergio Estruch Miñana. Masters in Advanced Microbiology, University of Barcelona. TFM: Marine planktonic protist diversity in the Palma Bay (Mallorca) as revealed by Illumina Sequencing. 13/09/2017. Co-supervised with Albert Reñé, ICM-CSIC.

Daniel Romano Gude. Masters in Advanced Microbiology, University of Barcelona. TFM: Microbiological study of an underwater volcano in a degassing stage: island of El Hierro. 12/09/2017

Adrià Auladell Martin. Masters in Bioinformatics, Pompeu Fabra University. TFM: Interannual seasonal dynamics of aerobic anoxygenic photoheterotrophs in the NW Mediterranean. 03/07/2017. Co-supervised with Pablo Sánchez, ICM-CSIC.

Marta Royo Llonch. Masters in Advanced Microbiology, University of Barcelona. TFM: Microdiversity within Single Cell Genomics of marine Bacteroidetes: Kordia spp. as model microorganisms. 09/09/2013. Co-supervised by Silvia G. Acinas, ICM-CSI