María del Mar Labrador


General research interests

I am interested in the ecology of interspecific interactions. My first studies were about the dynamics of a colonial cyanobacterium in the column and sediment of a water reservoir under natural conditions. This highlighted its interaction with a genus of filamentous cyanobacteria, which dragged these colonies to the sediment. In a second study we experimentally explored the chemical and biological factors driving this interaction.

PhD Thesis

With this background on field and laboratory studies on interespecific interactions I have started on October 2016 my ongoing PhD thesis focused on bird-feather mite interactions. I aim to understand the variability in feather mite abundance between species of passerine birds, and between populations of the same feather mite species on different host species. To do so, I am studying the diet and symbiotic bacteria of feather mite species in different bird species through a metabarcoding approach. I am also conducting experiments to understand the relevance of mite diet and symbionts on this interaction, and using the comparative method to understand which mite and bird species traits drive their interaction.


2016-2020 “La Caixa-Severo Ochoa” Predoctoral Research Fellow. Estación Biológica de Doñana. Spain.
2016 Laboratory technician. Instituto de Agrobiotecnología. Spain
2011-2013 Research scholar. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Spain
2011-2012 M.Sc. Microbiology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Spain.
2005-2011 B.Sc. Biology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Spain


Agha, R., Lezcano, M.A., Labrador, M.M., Cirés, S. & Quesada, A. 2014. Seasonal dynamics and sedimentation patterns of Microcystis oligopeptide-based chemotypes reveal subpopulations with different ecological traits. Limnology and Oceanography, 59:861-871.
DOI: 10.4319/lo.2014.59.3.0861
Agha, R., Labrador, M.M., de los Ríos, A. & Quesada, A. 2016. Selectivity and detrimental effects of epiphytic Pseudanabaena on Microcystis colonies. Hydrobiologia. 777(1), 139–148. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-016-2773-z