Maria A. Rodrigo

Maria A. Rodrigo
University of Valencia | UV · Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva



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Additional affiliations
January 1997 - present
University of Valencia
  • Professor (Associate)


Projects (3)
Submerged macrophytes are a key component of aquatic ecosystems. They are sensitive organisms and, thus, vulnerable to environmental changes in their habitats. In the current scenario of climate change, perturbances on temperature and water regimes can heavily influence the habitat quality and even the permanence of waterbodies, especially of Mediterranean shallow ponds. Events on the life cycle of species, such as flowering or fruiting, are usually triggered by environmental cues. So, their timing - known as "phenology"- is considered as the simplest process in which to track the climate change. Many studies focus on the phenology of terrestrial plants at different organization levels, however, little is known about the timing, especially regarding reproduction, of aquatic plants. This project aims to understand how environmental factors affect the phenology of aquatic plants with a submerged life-style. We are monitoring different species of plants and green macroalgae (charophytes) that grow in two shallow ponds located in the Mediterranean area. Registration of temperature, light and other environmental data would help us to understand their reproductive phenology, assessed by means of the quantification and measurement of flowers, fruits and sexual organs (gametangia and oospores).
Despite the facts that macrophyte occurrence impinge in other ecosystem components, including microbial communities, their effects on the main processes of the N cycle have seldomly been studied, either in current environmental conditions or in global change scenarios. This Project is focused on experimental studies using ANOVA designs at different spatial scales of observation, (microcosms to the ecosystem level) to test the effects of temperature and UV radiation increase and N enrichment on N metabolic processes.
The aim of this project is to elucidate how the macrophytes modulate the structure and function of the freshwater ecosystems regarding global change, focusing on the changes in the comunity mediated by macrophytes (in particular, charophytes) and on the advantageous or inhibitory effects of this changes in processes related with nitrogen cycle.