Ecological theory is full of models that present us with different views of how natural systems function. In order to test these models, I believe in combining ecological and physiological approaches. Untangling a system's complexity requires not only describing patterns of abundance and distribution but also understanding the processes and mechanisms that drive them. I am particularly interested in how biotic and abiotic factors influence marine organism's individual performance and how this is translated to population and community level dynamics. My concern for these issues grew strong as an undergraduate student at Universidad Católica del Norte (Chile); especially when I worked on my thesis entitled "Thermal gradient effect over the cost of living of two intertidal porcelain crabs, Petrolisthes granulosus and Allopetrolisthes angulosus", which I did under the guidance of Dr. Katherina Brokordt and Dr. Carlos Gaymer. In addition, my research experience includes field and laboratory work developed throughout the coast of Chile (continental, insular and Antarctic), which has shown me the huge variability of natural systems, along with stimulating me to continue searching for answers.
As a graduate student at USC, I am studying an emblematic predator-prey system from the western rocky shore of the United Sates: the predatory seastar Pisaster ochraceus and its prey the mussel Mytilus californianus. I am curious about the effects of temperature and hypoxic stress on physiological responses of both species, and how this can impact population shifts.