Inmaculada de Vicente
Dra. Inmaculada de Vicente is Professor in the Department of Ecology at the University of Granada. She is a Doctor in Environmental Sciences from the University of Granada with a European Doctorate Mention and a Quality Mention for her Doctoral Thesis by the Spanish Association of Limnology. She is a Research Prize by the Academy of Physical-Chemical and Natural Mathematical Sciences of Granada. She has carried out long research stays at internationally renowned centers in the field of limnology such as the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia (Pallanza, Italy) and the Institute of Biology of the University of Southern Denmark (Odense, Denmark) as an FPI fellow -MEC, Postdoctoral (MEC) and Academic Visitor. At present, she is a regular scientific evaluator of more than 10 JCR journals specialized in the field, and has participated in the organization of several national and international congresses. She has participated in 12 research projects and coordinated another 3 and has also participated in 3 research contracts.
According to the Google Scholar database, she has published 115 papers, her h-index is 25 and her i10 index is 47, with a total of 1913 citations, 1199 in the last ten years (2012-2021). In the scopus database, her production is 61 articles, h-index is 20, with 1213 citations, collaborating with 125 researchers. In this database, and in the last 10 years, the number of citations is 920, with 28 papers in the last decade. In relation of the Web of Science database, she has 56 publications, among them 53 are JCR articles (56.6% in the first quartile; with an average of 16.9 citations per item), 11 national and international book chapters and 74 conference papers international. She has supervised 4 PhD, 20 End-of-Degree Projects (Bachelor /Degree in Environmental Sciences and Biology) and 13 Master Projects. Her research goal is to study the identity and cycling of phosphorus in the environment with the focus on recovering and recycling of phosphorus. Simultaneously, her research focuses on solving the environmental challenges caused by excess phosphorus to aquatic ecosystems. During her research, she combines her background in ecology with state-of-the-art analytical chemistry and sediment biogeochemistry.
Next, a summary of her research career highlighting is shown: (i) eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems: diagnosis and measures for its control; (ii) study of the water-sediment interaction, and (iii) restoration and management of eutrophicated aquatic ecosystems. All of these research issues have been financed through different national and European research projects or contracts with companies.
Briefly, in the context of the first research topic, the following aspects were addressed during the pre-doctoral but also during the post-doctoral period: (a) to know the limnological functioning of the Albuferas de Adra wetlands, as a basis on which to propose recommendations for their management and restoration, (b) to estimate the external and internal phosphorus load to the system by applying mass balance and conducting laboratory experiments, (c) to apply critical load models in the study systems to know the degree of "stress" to which they are subjected, (d) quantification of the importance of river contributions to the epilimnion of stratified systems, and (e) to use indices based on the chemical composition of the sediment for the characterization of the trophic state.
In relation to the second line, she was focused on assessing the role of sediments in aquatic ecosystems by both reflecting and affecting the characteristics of the water column itself. The relevance of lake sediments for reflecting lake structure and functioning was studied during her short pre-doctoral stay in the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia de Pallanza (Italy), where she became interested in studying the fractional composition of phosphorus in the sediment of Lake Alserio. The second aspect, related to the role of lake sediment affecting the chemical characteristics of the water body, was her main interest during her PhD studies carried out in the Albuferas de Adra wetlands. These unique ecosystems are especially dynamic as a result of meteorological forcing but also of the close sediment and water coupling. Perhaps it is this second aspect that has generated the greatest interest in recent decades, essentially motivated by the key role that sediment plays in restoring eutrophicated systems. Numerous studies have shown the failure (or delay) of the application of recovery techniques for eutrophic systems based only on the reduction of the external load of nutrients, by not considering the dynamic balance between sediment and water compartments. This equilibrium between the solid and liquid phases determines that the nutrients temporarily retained in the sediment are subsequently mobilized to the water column in response to a decrease in their availability in the water. Doubtless, this second line inspired Inmaculada de Vicente to get interested in studying the different restoration techniques to be used in eutrophicated systems.
Then, during the last line of research, we are actively working on two strategies: (i) inactivation of phosphorus, by adding aluminum salts or other compounds such as Phoslock® (modified clay enriched in Lanthanum) or CFH-12®, which is a non-magnetic iron oxide and (ii) and in the addition of magnetic particles to improve water quality. It is key to differentiate both strategies because, while the inactivation implies the recovery of neither the adsorbent nor the phosphorus, the addition of magnetic particles allows the recovery of both, both the phosphorus and the adsorbent. As a result, the use of magnetic particles would make it possible to reverse the current anthropogenic alteration of the biogeochemical cycle of phosphorus, extracting phosphorus from aquatic ecosystems and returning it to terrestrial ecosystems as fertilizer. This idea is related to the concept of circular economy.
Currently, her research is mainly focused on the use of novel adsorbents such as magnetic and non magnetic particles for improving water quality of both natural aquatic ecosystems and also of treated wastewaters. She has assessed the convenience of using magnetic particles as phosphorus adsorbents for counteracting the present alteration of phosphorus biogeochemical cycle was assessed. More specifically, the next goals has been achieved: (i) to assess the toxicity of novel phosphorus adsorbents used for lake restoration on aquatic biota by using a multi-methodological approach based on standardized laboratory tests (Álvarez-Manzaneda et al., 2017, Journal of Hazardous Materials; Álvarez-Manzaneda and de Vicente, 2017, Chemosphere; del Arco et al., 2018, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety; Álvarez-Manzaneda et al., 2019, Chemosphere) and microcosms experiments (Álvarez-Manzaneda et al., 2019, Science of the Total Environment; del Arco et al., 2021, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety); (ii) to achieve the efficiency of magnetic particles for trapping phosphorus in secondary municipal effluents which lastly discharge in a Ramsar site (Fuente de Piedra, Málaga, Spain; Álvarez-Manzaneda et al., 2021, Chemosphere) and (iii) to evaluate the viability of recovered phosphorus from a natural eutrophicated ecosystem as a liquid fertilizer (Álvarez-Manzaneda et al., 2021, Journal of Environmental Management).
It is finally interesting to remark her extensive experience in both national and international collaborations (up to 77 co-authors, SCOPUS database). As an illustration, she has collaborated with members from the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia (de Vicente et al. 2006, Journal of Paleolimnology), Florida Atlantic University (Jensen et al. 2009, Limnology and Oceanography); University of Copenhagen (de Vicente et al. 2010a, Hydrobiologia); Department of Environmental Sciences and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (de Vicente et al. 2010b, Hydrobiologia); Aarhus University (Egemose et al. 2011, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences); University of Toronto (Cortés et al. 2014, Limnology and Oceanography) and Babes-Bolyai University (Blanco et al. 2019; Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid).