Experimental scientist investigating pressure-response relationships of filter-feeders to dredging pressures, within the WAMSI Dredging Science Node.
I obtained a PhD in 2012 which investigated the biology, phylogeography and resilience of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata. Since 2013 I have been researching the effects of dredging-related pressures on sponges. The primary focus of my research is to understand the impacts of natural and human pressures on marine invertebrates and their symbionts, in order to contribute to effective environmental management that aids the protection of marine ecosystems.
  • 2012: PhD in Biology, University of Barcelona (Extraordinary PhD Award)
  • 2008: Master in Marine Sciences, University of Barcelona
  • 2007: Bachelor of Biology, University of Barcelona
Current Research Activities
My role at AIMS is to determine the effects of dredge-pressures (sedimentation, suspended sediments & light intensity) on sponges using advanced experimental facilities. I am responsible for the design, maintenance & sampling of experiments as well as undertaking a broad range of laboratory analyses and physiological assessments. These approaches range from assessments of respiration and photosynthetic efficiency to molecular level analysis of microbial symbiosis and host gene expression. My role also involves student supervision, data interpretation and data synthesis/publication from experiments within the WAMSI Sponge Dredging Science.
Expert Committees and Boards
Ad hoc Reviewer for 5 international journals (Coral Reefs, Management of Biological Invasions, Marine Ecology, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Zoologica Scripta).
The following are a selection of my publications Th

Pineda MC, Turon X, Pérez-Portela R, López-Legentil S (in Review) Stable populations in unstable habitats: temporal genetic structure of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata in North Carolina. Marine Biology

Ordóñez V, Pascual M, Fernandez-Tejedor M, Pineda MC, Tagliapietra D, Turon X (2015) Ongoing expansion of Didemnum vexillum in the Mediterranean Sea: biological cycle and genetic structure of a worldwide invader. Biological Invasions 17:2075-2085

Pineda MC, Duckworth A, Webster N (2015) Appearance matters: Sedimentation effects on different sponge morphologies. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, available on CJO2015. DOI:10.1017/S00253154140001787

Erwin P, Pineda MC, Webster N, Turon X, López-Legentil S (2014) Down under the tunic: Bacterial biodiversity hotspots and widespread ammonia-oxidizing archaea in coral reef ascidians. The ISME Journal 8:575-588

Ordóñez V, Rius M, McQuaid CD, Pineda MC, Pascual M, Turon X (2013) Early biotic interactions among introduced and native benthic species reveal cryptic predation and shifts in larval behaviour. Marine Ecology Progress Series 488:65-79

Erwin P, Pineda MC, Webster N, Turon X, López-Legentil S (2013) Small core communities and high variability in bacteria associated with the introduced ascidian Styela plicata. Symbiosis 59:35-46

Pineda MC, López-Legentil S, Turon X (2013) Year-round reproduction in a seasonal sea: biological cycle of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata in the Western Mediterranean. Marine Biology 160:221-230

Pineda MC, McQuaid CD, Turon X, López-Legentil S, Ordóñez V, Rius M (2012) Tough adults, frail babies: an analysis of stress sensitivity across early life-history stages of widely introduced marine invertebrates. PloS ONE 7(10):e46672

Pineda MC, Turon X, López-Legentil S (2012) Stress levels over time in the introduced ascidian Styela plicata: The effects of temperature and salinity variations on hsp70 gene expression. Cell Stress and Chaperones 17:435-444

Pineda MC, López-Legentil S, Turon X (2011) The whereabouts of an ancient wanderer: global phylogeography of the solitary ascidian Styela plicata. PLoS ONE 6(9):e25495

Teixidó N, Pineda MC, Garrabou J (2009) Decadal demographic trends of a long-lived temperate encrusting sponge. Marine Ecology Progress Series 375:113-124

Rius M, Pineda MC, Turon X (2009) Population dynamics and life cycle of the introduced ascidian Microcosmus squamiger in the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Invasions 11:2181-2194

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