Characterization of aquatic ecosystems

One of the pillars in the management of aquatic ecosystems lies in the knowledge of their physical-chemical, hydromorphological and biological characteristics.

At IHCantabria we have extensive experience in the implementation, design and development of surveillance and monitoring programs in rivers, estuaries and coastal waters, ranging from field campaigns to the evaluation of water, sediment and biological community quality with different methodological approaches.

Among our areas of activity are the works dedicated to the characterization of different habitats (e.g. rivers, marshes, cliffs, dunes, intertidal and subtidal bottoms), and the different biological communities that make them up (phanerogams, macroalgae, fish, invertebrates and phytoplankton).

We currently have an accredited laboratory (IHBio) for field work and laboratory analysis, which has specialists in the taxonomic identification of fauna and flora.

The knowledge acquired allows us to analyze the response of biological communities to anthropogenic pressures and the role played by climatic variables, oceanographic and hydromorphological variables en theirspatial distribution and future evolution.


We draw samples and analyse the physico-chemical, biological and hydromorphological characteristics of aquatic ecosystems.

We carry out taxonomic identification of macrophytes (phanerogams, algae), microalgae (phytoplankton, benthic diatoms), invertebrates and vertebrate fauna by using anatomical and genetic approaches (environmental DNA; eDNA).

We design and implement environmental monitoring and control programs.

We instrumentalize aquatic ecosystems and create web platforms for real-time monitoring (e.g. flows, water temperature)

We evaluate and diagnose the ecological and chemical status of aquatic ecosystems. We model at different spatio-temporal scales, modeling of water quality (e.g. nitrates), hydromorphological elements (e.g. flow) and bioindicator communities (e.g. invertebrates).

We develop bionomic mapping of terrestrial and aquatic communities.

We model potential habitat and species distribution.

We develop data analysis of the aquatic and climatic environmental variables.



2005 – 2018. Ministry of the Environment. Government of Cantabria. Since 2005, IHCantabria has been involved in the design and implementation of the quality network for transitional and coastal water masses in Cantabria, in compliance with the Water Framework Directive.


Development of a spatial framework for integrated watershed management: 2010-2012. Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Maintaining the network of gauges and ground stations and monitoring the preservation status of the fluvial ecosystems in the Picos de Europa National Park. 2015-2017. Inter-autonomic Consortium of the Picos de Europa National Park.
Learn More


2005 – 2017. IHCantabria has actively participated in proposing metrics to evaluate the status of the biological indicators laid out in the Water Framework Directive (macroalgae, phanerogams, fish, invertebrates, phytoplankton), validated through its participation in the North-East Atlantic Geographical Intercalibration Group.


Would you like to know how we can help you?
Send me a message and I’ll back to you as soon as possible!


Researcher || Expert in aquatic ecosystems

We advise you that your personal data will be processed by FUNDACIÓN INSTITUTO HIDRÁULICA AMBIENTAL DE CANTABRIA, in order to manage your request and maintain professional and commercial relations with you. Your data will not be transferred to third parties. This data treatment is necessary to attend your request. Your data will be kept until you unsubscribe from the service and/or after a reasonable time has passed since we attended to your request. You can exercise your rights of access, rectification, cancellation, opposition, portability and limitation of the processing of your data by contacting the FUNDACIÓN INSTITUTO HIDRÁULICA AMBIENTAL DE CANTABRIA, PCTCAN C/ISABEL TORRES, 15, 39011 SANTANDER (CANTABRIA), or with a copy of your ID card duly accrediting your identity. In any situation, you have the right to file a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD)