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Sergio Navarrete Lab

Principal Investigator

Sergio A. Navarrete received his PhD from Oregon State University at Corvallis in the United States, and completed a postdoc at Oregon State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara before joining the faculty of the Ecology Department in the Biological Sciences Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He has served as the Director of ECIM since 1997. His main office and lab are at ECIM.

Lines of Research

Marine community ecology, predator-prey interactions, recruitment and dispersal, biogeography and macroecology of marine ecosystems

In my lab we are dedicated to the study of nearshore marine ecosystems. Together with students, research assistants, and post-doctoral associates at ECIM, we are developing three main, interrelated lines of research. The first one is the study of biogeographic and macroecological patterns of large assemblages of species, concentrating on patterns of diversity and abundance of nearshore benthic invertebrates. The majority of the studies we have undertaken are regional to continental in scope, and we currently are working on patterns of community structure at sites along the entire coast of central and northern Chile.

The second line of research is related to the experimental study of the factors that structure benthic communities over local scales, with emphasis on the role of trophic interactions. The fundamental approach here is to use field experiments to test hypotheses about the importance of direct and indirect interactions and to assess the variability of these interactions over time and among sites.

The last line of research centers around understanding the nature and intensity of the links between benthic population and community dynamics and nearshore oceanographic processes. Nearshore benthic ecosystems are “open” to the oceanic waters in which they are immersed. This means, for instance, that local abundance of species may not be dependent on local adult reproduction, but on nearshore currents that transport propagules as well as nutrients and food particles to the benthic habitat. This research program combines oceanographic with descriptive and experimental ecological studies.