Prof Genoveva Esteban
Christchurch House C208, Talbot Campus
Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB - UK
Dr Esteban's research interests focus on biodiversity at the microbial level in order to understand and predict the functioning of aquatic systems by characterising microbial biodiversity at local and regional scales, and by defining the role played by microbes in the natural environment and food webs. Her current research is two fold: (1) she leads a successful programme that aims to link science with conservation through research on `cryptic' biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems. `Cryptic' biodiversity refers to organisms invisible to the naked eye that have (until now) been excluded from conservation surveys and habitat management practise - yet, they are the foundations of food webs and help habitats to bounce back in response to environmental change. The work is in partnership with Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and Pond Conservation Trust. One of the key outputs of her research is the inclusion of `cryptic' biodiversity in conservation guidelines and habitat management plans in a variety of nature reserves in Dorset (UK). (2) characterisation at molecular and morphological levels of the rare aquatic microbial consortia that thrive in wet woodlands, some being new species to science. These rare habitats sustain a rather large reservoir of undocumented microbial species and microbial consortia. The research of this 'oasis' of microbes is supported with grants from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Systematics Association (UK).