Research group

Littoral Biological Processes

Littoral Biological Processes

Investigating continent-ocean interactions within the coastal ecosystem

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Since its creation in 1990, the group has investigated continent-ocean interactions within the coastal ecosystem, including continental flows and their implications for the marine environment. Particular areas of interest have been the enrichment of coastal waters and its consequences, eutrophication, and the development of harmful algal blooms. Their study includes: i) the relevant mechanisms in the associated biological processes and ii) the relationships between continental inputs, spatial structure, and land use. The group focuses on basic science but the results also address the growing demands stemming from management criteria and legislation enacted by the European Union on environmental quality and human health and wellbeing.

The group's research objectives have been the following: (i) a qualitative and quantitative understanding of marine systems via the study of marine phytoplantonic communities and (ii) description of the spatiotemporal patterns of relevant physico-chemical and biological parameters, to understand littoral processes and to evaluate environmental quality in these coastal regions. Achieving these objectives requires:

  • A description of the diversity of coastal microalgae and their biogeography
  • Quantification of the relationships between microorganisms of the trophic food web
  • Characterization of the environmental changes that affect phytoplankton communities
  • Understanding the variability, origins, and consequences of coastal dynamics and how the state of these systems impacts human wellbeing.
  • The development of methodologies for assessing coastal waters based on environmental quality indicators, such as specific indexes.

The group also has a strong commitment to science dissemination and outreach

* Data from the last two years

Group members

Head of group (PI)

Postdoc Researcher


Most relevant information


2018-2021 Grup de Recerca Consolidat de Catalunya. SGR 1642 GRUP DE PROCESSOS LITORALS I OCEÀNICS (Group of Coastal and Oceanic Processes). Generalitat de Catalunya. Spain. IP: A. Palanques (ICM-CSIC).43.843.94  €

OUTREACH: Garcés, E., Closa, D. 100 secrects dels oceans. Editorial Cossetània. 2018

  • Basterretxea, Gotzon; Torres, F.J.; Alacid, Elisabet; Anglès, Silvia; Camp, Jordi; Ferrera, Isabel; Flo Arcas, Eva; Font-Muñoz, Joan S.; Jordi, Antoni; Reñé, Albert; Salgado, Paula M.; Sampedro, Nagore; Garcés, Esther;

    Cross-Shore Environmental Gradients in the Western Mediterranean Coast and Their Influence on Nearshore Phytoplankton Communities

    Frontiers in Marine Science 5: 78 (2018)
  • Figueroa, Rosa Isabel; Estrada, Marta; Garcés, Esther;

    Life histories of microalgal species causing harmful blooms: Haploids, diploids and the relevance of benthic stages

    Harmful Algae 73: 44-57 (2018)
  • Font-Muñoz, Joan S.; Jordi, Antoni; Anglès, Silvia; Ferriol, Pere; Garcés, Esther; Basterretxea, Gotzon;

    Assessing phytoplankton community composition using combined pigment and particle size distribution analysis

    Marine Ecology Progress Series 594: 51-63 (2018)
  • Vassalli, M.; Berdalet, Elisa; Vila, Magda; Chiantore, Maria Chiara;

    Intercalibration of counting methods for Ostreopsis spp. blooms in the Mediterranean Sea

    Ecological Indicators 85: 1092-1100 (2018)
  • Giner, Caterina R.; Balagué, Vanessa; Krabberød, Anders K.; Ferrera, Isabel; Reñé, Albert; Garcés, Esther; Gasol, Josep M.; Logares, Ramiro; Massana, Ramon;

    Quantifying long-term recurrence in planktonic microbial eukaryotes

    Molecular Ecology 28(5): 923-935 (2019)