This group was established in 1984. The origin and the diversity of its present research lines are a consequence of the initial studies of the group focussed almost exclusively on the biology of the crustacean branchiopod Artemia and its use in aquaculture. The utilisation of Artemia nauplii as indispensable live food in marine larviculture, the exclusive origin of this resource from the American continent, and the lack of information about the biodiversity and biogeography of the different species of the genus Artemia around the world, have influenced the evolution of the group research lines from its creation.
All group members, during their predoc and postdoc periods, have focussed their interests to the study of the characterisation of the genus Artemia species and populations, using diverse methodologies. This has led to the creation of one of the research groups with more experience in this organism worlwide.
From the experience obtained in the study of Artemia, a number of research lines in basic and applied subjects have been developed in the group. These lines have been aimed with innovative vision to the development of frontline scientific disciplines such as:
- Evaluation, improvement and zootechnical application of the nutritional status of live preys for larval rearing of marine species, applied lipidology (PUFA's), and in the development and vehiculation of nutrients in lipid microparticulate diets (emulsions and liposomes).
- Use of Artemia as essential organism in marine ecotoxicology studies, application of this experience in other marine organisms (fish), and development of physiological biomarkers useful for the assessment of toxicity in aquatic environments.
- Study of the Artemia biodiversity, threatened by the invasion of exotic species, and the different biological factors that influence this phenomenon: biological fitness, parasitism, population dynamics.
- Biology and ecology of Artemia: biodiversity, genetics, biogeography, exotic invasions, parasitism.
- Live preys, larval nutrition and aquaculture: studies on the culture of live preys to feed larvae of marine organisms, and the improvement of their nutritional levels through enrichment and bioencapsulation. Larviculture studies, particularly on marine larvae nutrition in topics related to lipids, amino acids and vitamins. Study of lipid metabolism of fish larvae.
- Aquatic ecotoxicology: development of biomarkers involved in fundamental physiological and biochemical processes in aquatic organisms (fish, crustaceans and molluscs). Implications on the environment and aquaculture.