Nester Tessa L.

Foto de perfil del investigador Nester Tessa L.


My research involves the use of Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques to broaden our understanding of the Spanish Toothcarp's (Apricaphanius iberus) conservation biology. 


The Spanish Toothcarp is currently considered one of Spain’s most Endangered species due to the progressive degradation of its natural habitats and the introduction of invasive species, such as the Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). Although small, measuring just 3-8 centimeters in length, it is truly a remarkable fish species as it's capable of living in both freshwater and saltwater habitats and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The Spanish Toothcarp is also endemic to the Spanish Mediterranean Coast, being found nowhere else in the world.


My doctoral thesis involves the application of eDNA techniques to map out the Spanish Toothcarp’s current area of distribution, as well as that of the invasive species that threaten its populations. An intensive phylogeographic study using Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) will be carried out as well to comprehend the genetic structure of its populations, which are severely fragmented. I will additionally apply eDNA metabarcoding methods to study the diet of the Spanish Toothcarp and the invasive Eastern Mosquitofish to determine whether the negative impact that the Eastern Mosquitofish has on the Spanish Toothcarp, both of which live together in sympatry, is a direct result of predation, a competition for resources, or both. The results of my studies will allow me to establish Operational Conservation Units (OCUs) to aid in the proper management of current and future conservation programs that are aimed at keeping the Spanish Toothcarp from disappearing completetly from the wild.

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