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Benthic-pelagic coupling

Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in tropical estuaries

Recently our research group extended its interests on the role of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycling in coastal shallow environments to tropical estuaries. Tropical shallow estuaries are typically surrounded by mangroves, which are the tropical analogues to saltmarshes in temperate areas. In addition, tropical estuaries are usually highly productive and their seasonal dynamic is strongly affected by large differences in freshwater flow during the dry and wet seasons.

Our current information on the dynamics of tropical estuaries is considerably scarcer than for temperate ones. So far, we have addressed the coupling between the microbial ecology and biogeochemical processes in the water column and sediments of the Gulf of Nicoya (Pacific coast of Costa Rica) throughout sampling campaigns funded by an international cooperation projects from The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID).

This international cooperation projects aimed to integrate international level research and postgraduate teaching through an introductory international course on Estuarine microbial biogeochemistry organised by the MEB-UCA and the Centre for Marine Science and Limnology from University of Costa Rica (CIMAR-UCR). In the first edition of this course which took place in San José  and the Marine Research Station of Punta Morales, in July 2011, participated Spanish students selected from the Master in Oceanography, University of Cádiz, and students from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama. Some of these students finished successfully their Master Thesis in our laboratory on several aspects of tropical microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in the Gulf of Nicoya.


Main collaborators from other labs include:

Alvaro Morales, CIMAR, Costa Rica

Jenaro Acuña, CIMAR, Costa Rica

Omar Lizano, CIMAR, Costa Rica

Jose Angel Gálvez, UCA

Carlos García, UCA

Publications (more here)

Seguro M.I., C.M. García, S. Papaspyrou, J.A. Gálvez, E. García-Robledo, G. Navarro, S. Soria, V. Aguilar, O.G. Lizano, A. Morales-Ramírez, A. Corzo. Seasonal changes of the microplankton community along a tropical estuary, the inner Gulf of Nicoya (Costa Rica). (Submitted to Marine and Freshwater Reasearch).


Soria S., García E., Papaspyrou S, Corzo A., Morales A., Lizano, O. (2012). Metabolismo  neto y flujo de nutrientes en la comunidad pelágica del Golfo de Nicoya (Costa Rica). Net metabolism and nutrient flows in pelagic community of Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. XVI SIQM Seminario Ibérico de Química Marina, 24-27 January, Cádiz, Spain (Poster).

Bibbó F., García-Robledo E., Papaspyrou S., Corzo A., Morales-Ramírez, A. (2012). Microbenthic net metabolism in the tropical estuary of the Gulf of Nicoya using microelectrodes. ISMS12 International Symposium in Marine Sciences, 24-27 January, Cadiz, Spain (Oral).

Agüera A., Papaspyrou S., García-Robledo E., Corzo A., Morales A. (2012). Flujos bentónicos en el Golfo de Nicoya. ISMS12 International Symposium in Marine Sciences, 24-27 January, Cadiz, Spain (Poster).

Master theses

Florencia Bibbó Sánchez, 2011. Oxygen and nutrients distribution and diffusive fluxes in the sediment-water interface in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Sara Soria Píriz, 2011. Metabolismo neto de la comunidad pelágica del Golfo de Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Isabel Seguro Requejo, 2011. El sistema pelágico del golfo de Nicoya y Río Tempisque, Costa Rica.

Astrid Alba Agüera Jaquemet, 2011. Estudio del efecto de la actividad del microbentos en los flujos de nutrientes entre el sedimento y la columna de agua en el estuario del Río Tempisque y el Golfo de Nicoya (Costa Rica).

Virginia Aguilar Barquero, 2012. Caracterización del fitoplancton y bacterioplancton del Golfo de Nicoya (Costa Rica) mediante citometría de flujo

Eddy H. Gómez Ramírez, 2012. Metabolismo neto y flujo de nutrientes en la interfase sedimento-agua en el golfo de Nicoya, Costa Rica.


Development and consolidation of research in microbial ecology and marine biogeochemistry in Costa Rica, D/031020/10, A1/037457/11. Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) PI: Prof. A. Corzo, University of Cadiz, Jan 2011 – Jul 2013.

Preparation of a scientific cooperation project for the development of research of marine microbial ecology in Costa Rica, (C/023621/09) Proyecto I+D, Spanish Agency for International Cooperation  and Development (AECID). PI: Prof. A. Corzo, University of Cadiz. Jan 2010 – Jan 2011.