Natalia Llopis Monferrer is a postdoctoral fellow advised by Colleen Durkin. She earned her PhD in Ocean Chemistry from Université de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest, France), as well as MS in Oceanography from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, (Paris, France). Before joining MBARI, Natalia was a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Marine Environmental Sciences (Brest, France) studying microalgae.

Research interests

Natalia is a motivated biogeochemist with a passion for understanding how plankton influences the cycling of certain elements in our oceans, working to improve our knowledge of ocean biogeochemical cycles. Her research focuses on the ecology of silicifying Rhizaria, which are eukaryotic, mostly heterotrophic single-celled organisms, globally distributed, dwelling chiefly in the open ocean, from the surface down to bathypelagic depths. The goal of her MSCA postdoctoral project at MBARI is to characterize the silicification process in Rhizaria by combining different techniques: (i) exploration of genomic data to characterize the SITs of Rhizaria at different environmental conditions, (ii) targeted collection and maintenance of these delicate protists using cutting-edge technologies (e.g., remote operated vehicles, microfluidics) and, (iii) state-of-the-art imaging techniques, based on optical, fluorescent and electron microscopy, to examine silica deposition at a cellular level. This project will shed light on the little-known ecology of individual Rhizaria, and their ultimate role in relation to diatoms in the global plankton ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.