Dr Mari-Carmen Pineda

Dr Mari-Carmen Pineda

Associate Research Scientist with the Institute's Multiple Pressures on Coastal Ecosystems team.

Contact Information

Phone (07) 4753 4217
Int +61 7 4753 4217
Email m.pineda@aims.gov.au


I obtained a PhD in 2012 which investigated the biology, phylogeography and resilience of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata. Since 2013 I have been researching the effects of dredging-related pressures on sponges and other marine benthic organisms. The primary focus of my research is to understand the impacts of natural and human pressures on marine invertebrates and their symbionts, in order to contribute to effective environmental management that aids the protection of marine ecosystems.


2012: PhD in Biology, University of Barcelona (Extraordinary PhD Award)
2008: Master in Marine Sciences, University of Barcelona
2007: Bachelor of Biology, University of Barcelona


My role at AIMS is to determine the effects of sediments from dredging on corals and sponges, using advanced experimental facilities. I am responsible for the design, maintenance & sampling of experiments as well as undertaking a broad range of laboratory analyses and physiological assessments. These approaches range from assessments of respiration and photosynthetic efficiency to molecular level analysis of microbial symbiosis and host gene expression. My role also involves volunteer training, data interpretation and data synthesis/publication from experiments within the NESP Risk Assessing Dredging Project.


Ad hoc Reviewer for 8 international journals (Aquatic Invasions, Coral Reefs, Management of Biological Invasions, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Zoologica Scripta).


Strehlow B, Pineda MC, Duckworth A, Kendrick GA, Renton M, Abdul Wahab MA, Webster NS, Clode PL (2017) Sediment tolerance mechanisms identified in sponges using advanced imaging techniques. PeerJ 5:e3904 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3904

Moitinho-Silva L, Nielsen S, Amir A, Gonzalez A, Ackermann GL, Cerrano C, Astudillo-Garcia C, Thomas T, et al. (2017) The sponge microbiome project. GigaScience gix077 DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/gix077

Pineda MC, Strehlow B, Kamp J, Duckworth A, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effects of combined dredging-related stressors on sponges. Scientific Reports 7:5155 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05251-x

Pineda MC, Strehlow B, Sternel M, Duckworth A, den Haan J, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effects of sediment smothering on the sponge holobiont with implications for dredging management. Scientific Reports 7:5156 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05243-x

Pineda MC, Strehlow B, Sternel M, Duckworth A, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effects of suspended sediments on the sponge holobiont with implications for dredging management. Scientific Reports 7:4925 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05241-z

Strehlow B, Jorgensen D, Webster NS, Pineda MC, Duckworth A (2016) Using a thermistor flowmeter with attached video camera for monitoring sponge excurrent speed and oscular behaviour. PeerJ 4:e2761 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2761

Pineda MC, Strehlow B, Duckworth A, Doyle J, Jones R, Webster NS (2016) Effects of light attenuation on the sponge holobiont - implications for dredging management. Scientific Reports 6:39038 DOI: 10.1038/srep39038

Pineda MC, Lorente B, López-Legentil S, Palacin C, Turon X (2016) Stochasticity in space, persistence in time: genetic heterogeneity in harbour populations of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata. PeerJ 4:e2158. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2158

Pineda MC, Turon X, Pérez-Portela R, López-Legentil S (2016) Stable populations in unstable habitats: temporal genetic structure of the introduced ascidian Styela plicata in North Carolina. Marine Biology 163:59 DOI:10.1007/s00227-016-2829-7

Pineda MC, McQuaid CD, Turon X, López-Legentil S, Ordóñez V, Rius M (2012) Tough adults, frail babies: an analysis of stress sensitivity across early life-history stages of widely introduced marine invertebrates. PLoS ONE 7(10):e46672

Pineda MC, Turon X, López-Legentil S (2012) Stress levels over time in the introduced ascidian Styela plicata: The effects of temperature and salinity variations on hsp70 gene expression. Cell Stress and Chaperones 17:435-444