Researchers and Fellows

Dr. Soledad Zabala

Assistant Researcher CONICET

Dr. Soledad Zabala

My research

My research is focused on reproductive biology of marine invertebrates, particularly on marine gastropods from North Patagonian gulfs. My first aim is to study gastropod reproduction from an integrative perspective and to understand life history strategies. This implies to study multiples aspect about reproduction such as gametogenic-cycle, size at first maturity and oviposition seasonality in connection with environmental parameters as temperature, photoperiod, and the surrounding community.
A second aim is to gather all the necessary information to advise on regulations for a sustainable management of gastropods as resources as well as the conservation of this taxa and their community.

Research goals
  • To study density and distribution of marine gastropod populations of North Patagonian gulfs.
  • To study gametogenic-cycle, oviposition seasonality, gonadal structure, size at first maturity of each gastropod population.
  • To analyse the reproductive parameters together with environmental variables (temperature, photoperiod).
  • To provide reproductive information for species and community conservation.
  • To suggest sustainable management strategies for gastropod resources.
Research topics

Gastropods utilize a variety of reproductive morphologies and strategies, including gonochorism (unisex), protandritic hermaphroditism (a male phase precedes a female phase), protygynitic hermaphroditism (a female phase precedes a male phase), reversible hermaphroditism (successive changing between male and female phases), simultaneous hermaphroditism, and parthenogenesis.
However, there is not enough information about the intrinsic and extrinsic (temperature, salinity, photoperiod) factors influencing life-cycle patterns and their evolution.

Furthermore, developmental modalities may comprise planktonic development (involving a swimming veliger phase which may be planktotrophic or lecitotrophic), or non-planktonic development = direct development (in which metamorphosed crawling juveniles emerge from the egg masses).

Studying these variations as a whole helps us understand the reproductive dynamics of each gastropod species.

Small-scale fisheries, and particularly benthic invertebrate fisheries, have been playing an important role in the development of new fishery management principles and tools. Nevertheless, there are few studies that detail the exploitation practices and fishery management.

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