Home Marine Biology Contact us

Miriam Fernández Lab

Principal Investigator

Miriam Fernández received her PhD from the University of Washington in the United States and completed postdocs at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. A native of Argentina, she joined the Ecology Department of the Biological Sciences Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 1998. Miriam was named one of the five 2005 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation. Her main office and lab are at ECIM.

Lines of Research

Life history of marine invertebrates, and its implications for resource management and marine conservation

My research program focuses on two main lines of work:

  1. Life history of marine invertebrates and
  2. Ecology applied to fisheries management and marine conservation

Currently my research projects concentrate, on one side, on studies of the latitudinal distribution of modes of development of marine invertebrates, and the consequences of the potential for dispersal of marine species for fisheries management and conservation. On the other side, we are trying to understand the evolutionary context that favored the great diversity of modes of development that we observe among marine invertebrates.

Although we are working on several taxa of marine invertebrates, Brachyuran crabs have been used as model species for most of my work. In the past I studied the effect of behavior of pre- and post-settlement phases on the success of artificial habitats designed to increase crab production. Also using crabs as models, we assessed the impact of marine protected areas on the abundance of juvenile and adult crabs, in contrast with open access areas. At ECIM, we are currently studying the consequences that oxygen limitation in embryo masses of marine invertebrates could have on reproductive effort, considering the great diversity of reproductive strategies and modes of development within this group. We are studying the brooding behavior of several crab species, especially those related to the provision of oxygen to the embryos and the costs associated with parental care. My plan is to expand our research to include other invertebrate taxa, since the approximations of studies of reproductive investment among marine invertebrates do not include costs of parental care. Finally, we are analyzing latitudinal patterns of distribution of different modes of development of marine invertebrates in Chile, and the implications that these patterns could have for the design of marine reserves.