Clara Ruiz

Postdoc Researcher

I am interested in understanding the links between prokaryotic diversity and function in aquatic ecosystems, as well as in exploring how the connectivity and the dispersal of microbes between local communities or ecosystems may influence such links. In order to address these questions, I use different methods and approaches, such as single-cell techniques or Illumina sequencing, and I have worked in ecosystems as different as rivers, lakes, soils, estuaries and the ocean.
During my career, I have progressively moved from a detailed experimental assessment of the responses of marine microbes to environmental factors using microscope techniques, towards a more comprehensive and theoretical exploration of the regional and historical processes shaping microbial communities, by means of large-scale samplings of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and massive DNA sequencing. This shift has made me aware of the relevance of dispersal for shaping the diversity and activity of aquatic microbial communities, which is one of my main current research objectives.
At the ICM, I am presently investigating the biogeography and dispersal of marine bacteria, with special emphasis on their connectivity with the surrounding continental habitats. In summary, my scientific experience has been consolidating between research fields that not always communicate, such as limnology, oceanography and theoretical ecology. This trajectory has provided me with a rare balance between these disciplines that I try to maintain in my current research.