Staff Publications Projects and contracts Thesis


The general aim is to study the relationship between marine phytoplankton and light environment. This relationship is established mainly through pigments that are present in marine photosynthetic organisms forming part of groups with a large variety of molecular structures (photosynthetic systems). It has decided to characterise chlorophyll molecules and carotenoids that make up pigmentary systems and to relate the synthesis and/or interconversion among pigments with processes that involve the action of light (light harvesting, photoprotection, photoacclimatisation, photoadaptation). They also aim to establish its distribution in the different taxonomic categories of microalgae and cyanobacteria and investigate the distribution of planktonic organisms’ populations in natural waters by means of the development and application of pigment analysis methods.





  1. Pigment study of small size phytoplankton. The nano- and picoplankton fractions are important components of phytoplankton in oceans. In most cases they lack morphological distinctive characters and its study requires special techniques (flow cytometry, molecular biology, pigment analysis). These organisms, as the rest of marine phototrophs, present a complex group of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll, carotenoids, and phycobilins) that, selectively distributed in different taxons of eukaryotes and bacteria, play a physiological role that acquires global significance.
  2. Revision of the Prasinophyta class. We participate in a multidisciplinary study that re-examines the taxonomic groups within the Prasinophyta class by means of molecular and chemo-taxonomic techniques.
  3. Pigment responses in Emiliania huxleyi. We study how this coccolithophore, which is responsible for extensive proliferations in seas and oceans all around the planet and has a significant influence on global climate, is able to photoacclimatise with high physiological efficiency, to changes in light intensity and quality (oceanic vs. coastal environments) through pigment changes that can be either the interconversion of pigments in pools with the same basic chromophoric structure or the ex novo synthesis.



José Luis Garrido Valencia


Phone: +34 986 231930 ext. 860151

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