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I graduated with a degree in Industrial Chemistry from Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica in 2009 (B.Sc.) and 2011 (Licenciate). My final year research project was conducted under supervision of Prof. Juana Coto-Campos and involved the application of surface water quality indicators to support integrated water resources management in small catchments.
From 2009 to 2017, I worked in the School of Chemistry of Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica as a member of the analytical chemistry section. In September 2017, I started my postgraduate research at the Organic Geochemistry Unit in the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol under supervision of Professor Richard Evershed FRS. My Ph.D. focuses on application of mass spectrometry, stable isotope probing and genomic approaches to study organic matter dynamics in rivers and streams. This project has been developed in collaboration with Professor Penny Johnes (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol), Dr Charlotte Lloyd (School of Chemistry, University of Bristol) and Dr Daniel Read (Centre of Ecology and Hydrology).
Broadly, my research focuses on understanding biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments in order to support sustainable natural resources management and conservation.
During my Ph.D., I am investigating organic matter dynamics at the dissolved-particulate interface in streams and the influence of wastewater treatment works effluents on such mechanisms. The project aims to a) molecularly characterise suspended POM through the application mass spectrometry (e.g. GC-MS, Py-GC-MS and GC-HRMS), b) study microbial assimilation of organic and inorganic substrates using compound-specific stable isotope probing approaches (13C, 15N); and c) assess temporal and spatial changes in microbial communities. This work is complementary to the NERC-funded DOMAINE programme (Characterising the nature, origins and ecological significance of dissolved organic matter in freshwater ecosystems). A better understanding of the sources, processing and fate of organic matter and nutrients is necessary to minimise their impacts due to increasing anthropogenic pollution.
Mena-Rivera, L., Salgado-Silva, V., Benavides-Benavides, C., Coto-Campos, J. M., & Swinscoe, T. H., 2017. Spatial and Seasonal Surface Water Quality Assessment in a Tropical Urban Catchment: Burío River, Costa Rica. Water, 9(8), 558. https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080558