Home Marine Biology Contact us

Juan Carlos Castilla Lab

Principal Investigator

Juan Carlos Castilla received his PhD from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom. He has been part of the Biological Sciences Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile since 1965. One of the founders of ECIM, his research has had significant impact on marine conservation and research management in Chile and internationally. He has received numerous awards and national and international recognition for his work, including membership in the Chilean Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Chilean Presidential Chair in Science, and the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, among others. His main office and part of his lab are in Santiago, but he works extensively at ECIM.

Lines of Research

Structure and dynamics of rocky intertidal communities, and the role played by human beings as users of natural resources

One of my lines of research is coastal biodiversity. Although extensive work has been done on the coastal biodiversity of central Chile, less is known about the biodiversity associated with littoral micro-habitats. The lab is working to better understand variation in biodiversity at various scales by doing systematic studies of species diversity.

A second line of research is the study of how biological invaders affect Chilean marine biodiversity at the scales of population, community, and ecosystem. Methods used are the review of historical and archival data on Chilean invaders (including museum specimens), analyses of long-term spatial data series in Chile for detection of trends among invaders and natives, and comparative studies of invaders in their Chilean and native ranges.

A final area of interest is marine conservation; specifically, establishment of both marine reserves and areas managed for sustainable resource exploitation (allocated to small fishing communities with exclusive rights to resource use). In addition to studying the design and implementation of reserves and management areas, my lab also examines the connectivity between marine reserves and areas managed for exploitation. Since the study of marine connectivity requires an understanding of nearshore oceanography (a relatively young field in Chile), this is also a current area of interest. The lab is also working to better understand the human dimensions of marine reserves and marine resource management areas by studying the implications of reserve implementation and management for coastal communities.