Rodrigo De la Iglesia
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
My research line is focused on understanding the responses of the coastal picoplanktonic component, against environmental disturbances, mainly associated with imbalances in trace metals. This, in order to detect species that can be used as sentinels of disturbance in coastal systems. During this time, we have worked with copper as a study model, in coastal areas (Chañaral, Guayaquil, Quintero), in experimental systems (micro / meso cosmos) and with model organisms (Ostreococcus). The main tool of our research is based on the analysis of complex microbial communities, through community or metagenomic DNA / RNA, both through the application of mass sequencing methodologies and through the analysis of community patterns generated from taxonomic markers. In addition, we have incorporated the use of experiments in mesocosms and model organisms, to dissect the response of picoplankton to metal imbalances, from the ecosystem to the organism. The type of questions that we seek to answer are: What type of microorganisms are favored against this type of disturbances? What type of organisms are affected? What are the functions that allow microorganisms to live in such environmental stress conditions? What types of molecular adaptations does the picophytoplankton face in the face of these environmental changes?
Over the last years, the research has also been complemented with the impact that this type of disturbances can generate on the coastal infrastructure, which has been addressed by an interdisciplinary group focused, in biocorrosion and biofouling studies.