Research lines


The research lines reflect the main scientific areas in which our work is focused at this time. They constitute the conceptual skeleton of the Institute. Mainly focus in:

  • Monitoring of exchanges of gases greenhouse between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. PI: Andrew  S. Kowalski

The increase in GHG concentrations greenhouse (GHG) during the industrial era, is causing a climate change associated with global warming. As a result, have shown that global annual temperatures have increased 0.8 ° C over the past 50 years and projected new rises from 2 to 4.5 ° C by the end of this century. In this context, in addition to reducing emissions, it is essential to the identification and quantification of the sinks of these gases. Thus, the characterization of the global cycle of carbon in different terrestrial ecosystems and its determining processes has become, for several decades, an essential milestone to promote climate change management policies.

This research line has the following sublines:

  1. Continuous net trade of GHG (CO2, H2O and CH4) ecosystem scale using the technical eddy covariance measurements.
  2. Measures continuously the content of CO2 underground to the modeling of CO2 emissions between soil and atmosphere.
  3. GEIs Exchange measures with camera systems both in soil and plant-scale
  • Aerosol, clouds and atmospheric radiation. PI: Lucas Alados Arboledas

The atmospheric aerosol is defined as a suspension of solid particles and/or liquid in the atmosphere, and has a major impact on regional and global climate due to both direct and indirect effects on radiation. The aerosol particles directly affect the energy balance atmosphere-Earth solar radiation scattering and absorbing solar and terrestrial infrared radiation. Indirectly also affect the atmosphere-earth energy balance by modifying the cloud microphysical properties since they play the role of condensation nuclei and nuclei glaciogenos.

This research line has the following sublines:

  1. Advanced atmospheric monitoring and observation
  2. Spray, weather effects and air quality
  3. Interaction aerosol-cloud
  4. Atmospheric radiation: climate, health and energy
  • Research and monitoring of ecological processes in global change scenarios. Management of environmental information. PI: Regino Zamora Rodríguez

Mountain environments have a keen interest as laboratories for the study of global change. The concentration of a footprint altitudinal gradients makes mountains places with a high biodiversity and land use. This group focuses its efforts in designing mechanisms for monitoring the impact of global change on these as unique ecosystems. These mechanisms include wireless sensory devices that allow the capture of information independently. The information collected is used to generate spatially explicit models that describe the structure and functioning of these ecosystems. Digital tools are also made to transform the information generated knowledge useful for the decision-making process. From the ecoinformatics tools are fundamental in this process.

This research line has the following sublines:

  1. Design of sensor networks for monitoring the impact of global change.
  2. Simulation of the functioning ecosystem in regions of mountain and quantification of ecosystem services.
  3. Design of systems of information and support for environmental decision-making.
  • Hydrological processes and water quality in the Mediterranean basins. Integrated management. PI: María José Polo Gómez

The intervention of man in the hydrological cycle by modifying the uses of soil, agricultural practices, construction of reservoirs and, ultimately, management of water resources activities, requires often techniques and tools that facilitate the evaluation of these actions and their consequences in the short and long term prognosis, so you can perform actions to preserve protect and improve the quality of the environment. For this reason, the Group of Fluvial Dynamics and Hydrology advocates a point of view of integrated management, which framed the different variables that affect each of the processes that take place in the basin system, large-scale distributed, at the time that analyzes the behavior of water and substances associated with small scale.

This research line has the following sublines:

  1. Hydrological processes in Mediterranean basins.
  2. Transport and mixing in surface water
  3. Analysis of uncertainty in hydrologic and environmental processes
  • Processes and evolution of continental shelf and coastal systems. PI: Miguel Ortega Sánchez

The coast, including from the continental slope there reached where shipping agents in their most extreme conditions, is probably the most dynamic area of the Earth System. The continental shelf and the different coastal systems occurs in the exchange of substances between the continental and coastal water masses and transition, being fundamental to preserve the environmental richness of our planet. The high pressure that is exerted on these environments caused by human actions that have been developed over the past decades, together with the effects of climate variability, are leading to numerous coastal and littoral environments to a situation close to collapse. During the next few years society and their managers will demand more knowledge about these systems for to consider a comprehensive and integrated management of them, and this is the core of this line of research.

This research line has the following sublines:

  1. Morphodynamics of estuaries and deltas: analysis of physical processes and tools for its management.
  2. Morphodynamics of beaches: analysis of physical processes and tools for its management.
  3. Measures in field and laboratory support to previous lines testing.
  • Integrated management of infrastructures and resources. PI: Miguel A. Losada Rodríguez

Infrastructures and resources, both natural and artificial, must be currently managed from a standpoint of comprehensive and integrated management. The challenge that today’s society over the coming decades is not the construction of major new infrastructures, but preserving those already built by the man as well as ensuring adequate reliability, functionality and operability. These principles are equally applicable to natural infrastructures that are currently being threatened both by the action of man and climate variability. Resources soil, water and energy are finite and must be properly managed so that situations of collapse will not occur. Within the framework of the Earth system and the environmental hydraulics, from the IISTA is working in the design, implementation and application of tools of management that take into account the variability of natural processes and its uncertainty, and allow help decision making from a precise knowledge of the processes. So there are, among other things, of a series of leading experimentation infrastructures around the world that deepen the understanding of the physical processes and modelling specific infrastructure.

Evaluation and restoration of social-ecological systems.PI: José Luis Quero

The work carried out has been directed to research on restoring forest ecosystems in Andalusia, the study of forest species in Mediterranean and tropical environment, from the point of view of forestry and restoration.

Plant phenology and aerobiology. PI: Carmen Galán