Conxita Avila

Conxita Avila
University of Barcelona | UB · Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Sciences

PhD

About

215
Publications
42,451
Reads
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3,452
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
University of Barcelona
Position
  • Professor
January 1998 - April 2020
Antarctica
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • 12 Antarctic cruises
January 1995 - April 1995
University of Guam
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Several months in 1995, 1998, 2009, 2019 and 2022.

Publications

Publications (215)
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic shallow coastal marine communities were long thought to be isolated from their nearest neighbours by hundreds of kilometres of deep ocean and the Antarctic circumpolar current. the discovery of non-native kelp washed up on Antarctic beaches led us to question the permeability of these barriers to species dispersal. According to the litera...
Article
The Antarctic marine environment, although rich in life, is predicted to experience rapid and significant effects from climate change. Despite a revolution in the approaches used to document biodiversity, less than one percent of Antarctic marine invertebrates are represented by DNA barcodes and we are at risk of losing biodiversity before discover...
Article
Full-text available
Seaweeds contain a wide range of secondary metabolites which serve multiple functions, including chemical and ecological mediation with microorganisms. Moreover, owing to their diverse bioactivity, including their antibiotic properties, they show potential for human use. Nonetheless, the chemical ecology of seaweeds is not equally understood across...
Article
Within the Southern Ocean, the greatest warming is occurring on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) where clear cryospheric and biological consequences are being observed. Antarctic coastal systems harbour a high diversity of marine and terrestrial ecosystems heavily influenced by Antarctic seaweeds (benthonic macroalgae) and bird colonies (mainly penguin...
Article
Full-text available
Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is a core protein, with a relevant role in many neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. The enzyme has been largely studied as a potential therapeutic target for several neurological diseases. Unfortunately, preclinical and clinical studies with several GSK3β inhibitors have failed due to many...
Article
Full-text available
Computer-aided drug design (CADD) techniques allow the identification of compounds capable of modulating protein functions in pathogenesis-related pathways, which is a promising line on drug discovery. Marine natural products (MNPs) are considered a rich source of bioactive compounds, as the oceans are home to much of the planet’s biodiversity. Bio...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctica is considered one of the most pristine regions on Earth, but evidences of global and local anthropogenic pollution exist. Chromium (Cr), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) are bioaccumulated and sometimes biomagnified through the trophic web. We aim to determine whether a latitudinal gradient of these trace elements exists in benthic organisms a...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic marine benthic invertebrates are an underexplored source of natural products for biodiscovery. Bioactive marine natural products from Antarctica are reviewed here for their potential use as drugs, considering the main examples in Porifera (15 species), Cnidaria (eight species), Mollusca (one species), Bryozoa (one species), Nemertea (one...
Article
Antarctic ecosystem services are rich and diverse and include global climate modulation, biodiversity and habitat protection, cultural heritage, scientific knowledge, education and recreation as well as the extraction of marine living resources. However, environmental protection studies have rarely examined the full complement of Antarctic values r...
Article
Full-text available
The marine waters around the South Shetland Islands are paramount in the primary production of this Antarctic ecosystem. With the increasing effects of climate change and the annual retreat of the ice shelf, the importance of macroalgae and their diatom epiphytes in primary production also increases. The relationships and interactions between these...
Article
Full-text available
Among nudibranch molluscs, the family Tritoniidae gathers taxa with an uncertain phylogenetic position, such as some species of the genus Tritonia Cuvier, 1798. Currently, 37 valid species belong to this genus and only three of them are found in the Southern Ocean, namely T. challengeriana Bergh, 1884, T. dantarti Ballesteros & Avila, 2006, and T....
Article
Full-text available
Deception Island is amongst the most active volcanoes in the Southern Ocean, with over 20 explosive eruptions in the last ca. 200 years. The eruption that formed the caldera at Deception Island occurred 3980 ± 125 calendar years Before Present, and it is the largest eruptive event documented in Antarctica during Holocene. Since then, post-caldera v...
Article
Stable isotopes of C and N have been used to assess the effect of the duration of the sea ice season on the structure of benthic, Antarctic coastal food webs. Samples of suspended particulate organic matter, macroalgae and macroinvertebrates were collected at five subtidal rocky sites across a latitudinal gradient along the western Antarctic Penins...
Article
Within the Southern Ocean, the greatest warming is occurring on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) where clear cryospheric and biological consequences are being observed. Antarctic coastal systems harbour a high diversity of marine and terrestrial ecosystems heavily influenced by Antarctic seaweeds (benthic macroalgae) and bird colonies (mainly penguins)...
Article
Full-text available
The natural products of heterobranch molluscs display a huge variability both in structure and in their bioactivity. Despite the considerable lack of information, it can be observed from the recent literature that this group of animals possesses an astonishing arsenal of molecules from different origins that provide the molluscs with potent chemica...
Article
Organisms living in the sea are exposed to fouling by other organisms. Many benthic marine invertebrates, including sponges and bryozoans, contain natural products with antimicro- bial properties, since microbes usually constitute the first stages of fouling. Extracts from 4 Antarc- tic sponges (Myxilla (Myxilla) mollis, Mycale tylotornota, Rossell...
Article
Dissolved silicon (DSi) is biologically processed to produce siliceous skeletons by a variety of organisms including radiolarians, silicoflagellates, choanoflagellates, plants, diatoms and some animals. In the photic ocean, diatoms are dominant consumers over competing other silicifiers. In Antarctica, where DSi is not particularly limiting, diatom...
Article
Please cite this article as: S. Di Giglio, A. Agüera, P. Ph, et al., Effects of ocean acidification on acid-base physiology, skeleton properties, and metal contamination in two echinoderms from vent sites in Deception Island, Antarctica, Science of the Total Environment (2020), https://doi.
Chapter
From deep ocean trenches and the geographical poles to outer space, organisms can be found living in remarkably extreme conditions. This book provides a captivating account of these systems and their extraordinary inhabitants, ‘extremophiles’. A diverse, multidisciplinary group of experts discuss responses and adaptations to change; biodiversity, b...
Article
Full-text available
Dissolved silicon (DSi) is biologically processed to produce siliceous skeletons by a variety of organisms including radiolarians, silicoflagellates, choanoflagellates, plants, diatoms and some animals. In the photic ocean, diatoms are dominant consumers over competing other silicifiers. In Antarctica, where DSi is not particularly limiting, diatom...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic activities are a key factor in the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, a growing problem worldwide. Nevertheless, antibiotics and resistances were being generated by bacterial communities long before their discovery by humankind, and might occur in areas without human influence. Bacteriophages are known to play a relevan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Among nudibranch molluscs, the family Tritoniidae gathers taxa with unclear phylogenetic position, such as some species of the genus Tritonia Cuvier, 1798. Currently, 35 valid species belong to this genus and only three of them are found in the Southern Ocean, namely T. challengeriana Bergh, 1884, T. dantarti Ballesteros & Avila, 2006, and T. vorax...
Article
Mammal bones sustain rich chemoautotrophic microbial communities that are consumed by a range of marine invertebrates, with bacteria playing a fundamental role making the organic matter retained in the bones available to other organisms. Our major aim here is to characterize the phylogenetic diversity of bacteria associated with Mediterranean shall...
Article
Nuclear DNA content of marine macroalgae is known for only about a 3% of the globally known taxa, and so far, the only available data concerning marine Antarctic macroalgae refer to the Phaeophyceae Ascoseira mirabilis and Desmarestia antarctica. As these data can be useful for species delimitation when combined with other taxonomical information,...
Article
Full-text available
The microbiota of four Antarctic sponges, Dendrilla antarctica, Sphaerotylus antarcticus, Mycale acerata, and Hemigellius pilosus, collected at two South Shetland Islands and at two locations in the Antarctic Peninsula separated by ca. 670 km, were analyzed together with surrounding seawater. We used high throughput sequencing of the V4 region of t...
Article
Full-text available
Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 (GSK3) is an essential protein, with a relevant role in many diseases such as diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Particularly, the isoform GSK3β is related to pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This enzyme constitutes a very interesting target for the discovery and/or design of new therapeutic ag...
Article
Full-text available
Heterobranch molluscs are rich in natural products. As other marine organisms, these gastropods are still quite unexplored, but they provide a stunning arsenal of compounds with interesting activities. Among their natural products, terpenoids are particularly abundant and diverse, including monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids, sesterterp...
Preprint
Full-text available
The microbiota of four Antarctic sponges, Dendrilla antarctica, Sphaerotylus antarcticus, Mycale acerata, and Hemigellius pilosus, collected at two South Shetland Islands and at two locations in the Antarctic Peninsula separated by ca. 670 km, were analyzed together with surrounding seawater. We used high throughput sequencing of the V4 region of t...
Chapter
Forests are characterized by many different species living together, a high biodiversity, and many kinds of relationships among them, resulting from an advanced degree of mutual adaptations along evolution. Interactions occur both at interspecific and intraspecific levels, including many different types, such as competition (for food, light, space,...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advances in sampling and novel techniques in drug synthesis and isolation have promoted the discovery of anticancer agents from marine organisms to combat this major threat to public health worldwide. Bryozoans, which are filter-feeding, aquatic invertebrates often characterized by a calcified skeleton, are an excellent source of pharmacolog...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent advances in sampling and novel techniques in drug synthesis and isolation have promoted the discovery of anticancer agents from marine organisms to combat this major threat to public health worldwide. Bryozoans, filter-feeding, sessile aquatic invertebrates often characterized by a calcified skeleton, are an excellent source of pharmacologic...
Article
Full-text available
Since its introduction, the genus Philine has epitomized numerous mollusc snails with strong morphological convergence. Recently, a molecular analysis including a wide taxon sampling split this group into four non-sister families. Although they are especially diverse in cold and deep waters, no comprehensive studies are available for the Antarctic...
Article
Full-text available
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is becoming one of the most disturbing health and socioeconomic problems nowadays, as it is a neurodegenerative pathology with no treatment, which is expected to grow further due to population ageing. Actual treatments for AD produce only a modest amelioration of symptoms, although there is a constant ongoing research of ne...
Article
Shallow‐water polychaetes are abundant and diverse components of the Southern Ocean benthic communities, and although they have been widely studied, new species that are relatively common are still discovered. Here, we report the discovery of Pterocirrus giribeti sp. n., a new and abundant intertidal and upper‐subtidal Antarctic phyllodocid. To est...
Article
Full-text available
Solar radiation represents a key abiotic factor in the evolution of life in the oceans. In general, marine, biota—particularly in euphotic and dysphotic zones—depends directly or indirectly on light, but ultraviolet radiation (UV-R) can damage vital molecular machineries. UV-R induces the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and impairs intra...
Chapter
Full-text available
Marine organisms produce a wide variety of molecules, often unique and critical for their survival in terms of feeding, reproduction, or protection. These natural products are at the basis of ecological specialization because they may affect species distribution, feeding patterns, community structure and biodiversity. However, a long way remains to...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
Article
Antarctica has been hypothesized as a centre of origin of major heterobranch gastropod radiations, like Cephalaspidea and Nudipleura. Yet the study of Antarctic heterobranch diversity has been largely hampered by a lack of detailed morphological and anatomical studies, as well as comparative molecular phylogenetic approaches. Recently, the new ceph...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, unusual mortality outbreaks have decimated echinoderm populations over broad geographic regions, raising awareness globally of the importance of investigating such events. Echinoderms are key components of marine benthos for top-down and bottom-up regulations of plants and animals; population declines of these individuals can...
Article
Full-text available
Following ecological and chemical screenings, the Antarctic sponge Phorbas areolatus was chemically investigated for the first time. Three new suberitane derivatives named isosuberitenone B, 19-episuberitenone B, and isoxaspirosuberitenone were identified together with the known compounds suberitenones A and B, and oxaspirosuberitenone after a thor...
Article
Full-text available
Sponges are a dominant element of the Antarctic benthic communities, posing both high species richness and large population densities. Despite their importance in Antarctic ecosystems, very little is known about their reproductive patterns and strategies. In our study, we surveyed the tissue of six different species for reproductive elements, namel...
Article
Deception Island is an active volcano located at the southern end of the South Shetland Archipelago, in the Antarctic Ocean. After the last eruption in 1970, benthic recolonization took place within the bay, with echinoderms being the dominant epifauna (e.g., the ophiuroid Ophionotus victoriae, the echinoid Sterechinus neumayeri and the sea star Od...
Article
Full-text available
Marine sponges are exposed to predation as well as to a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms, and therefore they often possess chemical activity against putative predators and/or pathogens. Some crude extracts from sponges are effective in avoiding microbial colonization or potential infections, and in protecting them against predation....
Article
Full-text available
Antarctica has been hypothesized as a centre of origin of major heterobranch gastropod radiations, like Cephalaspidea and Nudipleura. Yet the study of Antarctic heterobranch diversity has been largely hampered by a lack of detailed morphological and anatomical studies, as well as comparative molecular phylogenetic approaches. Recently, the new ceph...
Article
Full-text available
Computer-aided drug discovery/design (CADD) techniques allow the identification of natural products that are capable of modulating protein functions in pathogenesis-related pathways, constituting one of the most promising lines followed in drug discovery. In this paper, we computationally evaluated and reported the inhibitory activity found in meri...
Article
Full-text available
Bathydoris hodgsoni and Doris kerguelenensis are two of the largest Antarctic nudibranchs. They are both common circumpolar species with broad bathymetric distributions, although B. hodgsoni is restricted to deep waters in the Antarctic high latitude. Egg masses and juveniles of these species were collected over multiple years (1998–2012) in the ea...
Article
Deception Island (South Shetland Islands) is an atypical spot in its Antarctic context, being a still active volcano with a submerged caldera. Although the sea-floor of its enclosed bay, Port Foster, has been extensively studied from 40 m down, little is known about the macrozoobenthic composition of its shallower areas. The aim of this study was t...