Rosa Isabel Figueroa

Distinguished researcher

ORCID: 0000-0001-9944-7993



My research focuses on the study of the life cycle and nuclear processes of dinoflagellates and their parasites. Dinoflagellates form proliferations that can be harmful and / or toxic, and the key to their damaging effect is not their presence, but their massive growth. Therefore, understanding the processes of division is the key to reach the control and balance of the ecosystem. My research is mainly focused on the analysis of the asexual (mitosis) and sexual (meiosis) division and the ecological factors that determine the transition from one to the other. Related to these processes, I work mainly with resistance cyst-forming species, given their interest as markers of sexuality, but also as key elements in the recurrence of blooms (traditionally known as red tides). Due to the large size of its nucleus (up to 70 times larger than a human nucleus) and other unique characteristics within eukaryotes, I am also interested in characterizing the evolution of the nucleus and its chromosomes, which we study using flow cytometry, FISH, and which we combine with population genetic studies. Among dinoflagellate parasites, I am mainly interested in the genus Parvilucifera, which I study to understand the infective process and the consequences on dinoflagellate populations and blooms.

Selected projects

2011-2016: Improved mitigation and management strategies of toxic algal blooms using a molecular Biological approach. Founded by Formas 2011-2015: Ecological genetics of Harmful Algal Blooms: Identifying local adaptation, genetic structure and species boundaries in Marine Eukaryotic host-parasite systems”- Founded by Crafoord Foundation. 2015-2018: Adaptive strategies of noxious microalgae: an innovative approach applied to the study of ciguatera in Canary Islands in the context of climate change. Founded by Spanish Miisterio de Economía y Competitividad (I+D+I) .2018-2021: Innovative detection of harmful algal blooms: A need in the context of global warming (DIANAS:CTM2017-86066-R). Founded by Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (I+D+I). 2022-2026: Control biológico de la formación y potencial tóxico de las proliferaciones de algas nocivas (BIOTOX). Founded by Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.