Arias del Real Rebeca


I investigate how desiccation of fluvial ecosystems alters their biodiversity and functioning. My research is carried out in highly dynamic ecosystems, such as intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams. In these ecosystems, I explore the relationship between drying duration and frequency, aquatic and sediment biodiversity (microbes and invertebrates), and their contribution to ecosystem functioning (organic matter decomposition, enzymatic activities, and energy transfer to higher trophic levels).To accomplish this, I combine extensive fieldwork (>50 sites across the Iberian Peninsula) with laboratory manipulative experiments. In the lab, I study the eco-physiological responses of aquatic fungi to drying, as well as the feeding preferences and growth of invertebrates in food webs.

Additionally, I am currently using state-of-the-art molecular techniques to investigate the abiotic factors that determine microbial biodiversity in extreme environments, such as ice streams, and their contribution to global biogeochemical cycles.

Research projects as PI:

2023. TEBUFUN: Unraveling the impact of TEBUconazole on aquatic fungal communities and ecosystem FUNctioning.  Transnational Access program of the EU H2020-INFRAIA project (No. 871081) AQUACOSM-plus. PI: Rebeca Arias-Real.

2022-2024. Are ephemeral streams early-stage soils or fluvial ecosystems? The role of biocrusts to maintain their functioning”. Iberian Society of Ecology (SIBECOL). PI: Rebeca Arias-Real and Pilar Hurtado.

Publicaciones relevantes