Francisco Peñas Silva


+34 942 20 16 16 Ext. 56127


Francisco J. Peñas is a senior researcher at the IHCantabria. He holds a PhD in Science and technology for the environmental management of hydrological systems (Universidad de Cantabria; 2014) and MSc in Integrated Management of Aquatic Systems (Universidad de Cantabria; 2008). Dr. Peñas had a postdoctoral position at the IHCantabria (2014-2017) and was granted a two-year postdoctoral fellowship by the national fund for the scientific and technological development of the Chilean Government (2017-2019).

His research focuses on the fields of environmental engineering, hydrobiology, water resources and ecosystem management aiming to improve our understanding on the dynamics of river systems under natural and human-impacted conditions. Hence, his research is very valuable for society, as gaining scientific knowledge is critical to attain sustainable water resource management under the current context of global change.

His PhD focused on the analysis of large scale spatial and temporal hydrological patterns and the assessment how anthropogenic pressures influence them. In his subsequent research, Dr. Peñas has focused on how streamflow interacts with different structural and functional elements of rivers and the ecosystems services that they provide. In this regard, he has been IP of several research projects financed by different regional, national and international entities. In addition, he has participated in 20 competitive R&D projects funded by public entities, including four research international projects totalling >20M€. Attending to the applied nature of the science conducted by Dr. Peñas and his interest in solving problems related to essential challenges for society, he has led 2 and participated in other 18 non-competitive contracts with public and private entities to promote transfer of knowledge, methodologies and tools to water managers and stakeholders. 

In 2023 Dr. Peñas obtained the R3 certificate, accrediting the quality of his scientific activity according to the National Research Agency. The result of this scientific activity can be summarized in the publication of 30 SCI papers (17 Q1, 12 first author; 18 open access), 2 book chapters and over 50 presentations in national and international congress. In 2014 he was awarded the Outstanding Paper Award granted by the Water and Environmental Journal.

During his professional development, Dr. Peñas has also acquired experience lecturing and guiding new scientists. Teaching experience includes lecturing under- and postgraduates at the Faculty of Engineering of the UCSC (2017-2019) and has collaborated in several courses within the postgraduate program of the University of Cantabria. Dr. Peñas has supervised one international thesis (Pompeu CS) and he is currently supervising two doctoral theses (Zarauza R and Hoang M), two of them framed within a European ITN. He has also supervised 2 final degree projects and 7 master theses.


Ecohydrology nad ecohydraulics
Effects of anthropogenic activities on river ecosystems
Environmental flows
Monitoring, evaluation and management of inland aquatic ecosystems.


Pompeu, C. R., Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2024). Effects of irrigation dams on riverine biota in mountain streams. Frontiers In Environmental Science12

Mazzeo, N., Ciganda, A. L., Nion, C. F., Peñas, F. J., González-Ferreras, A. M., Crisci, C., Zurbriggen, C., Pérez, D. V., Barquín, J., & Díaz, I. (2024). Inter and transdisciplinarity strategies for evaluating and improving water quality monitoring systems: Uruguay as a study case. Environmental Science & Policy154, 103699.

González-Ferreras, A. M., Barquín, J., Blyth, P. S. A., Hawksley, J., Kinsella, H., Lauridsen, R. B., Morris, O. F., Peñas, F. J., Thomas, G. E., Woodward, G., Zhao, L., & O’Gorman, E. J. (2023). Chronic exposure to environmental temperature attenuates the thermal sensitivity of salmonids. Nature Communications14(1).

Pompeu, C. R., Peñas, F. J., Belmar, Ó., & Barquín, J. (2023). Large-scale factors controlling biological communities in the Iberian Peninsula: an insight into global change effects on river ecosystems. Aquatic Sciences85(4).

Haase, P., & Welti, E. A. R. (2023). The recovery of European freshwater biodiversity has come to a halt Nature, 620.

Derepasko, D., Witing, F., Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Völk, M. (2023). Towards Adaptive Water Management—Optimizing River Water Diversion at the Basin Scale under Future Environmental Conditions. Water15(18), 3289.

Peñas, F. J., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., Sáinz‐Bariain, M., Mata-Campo, M. P., Pérez‐Haase, A., Ventura, M., Polo, M. J., Alonso, C., Granados, I., Morellón, M., Pérez‐Martínez, C., Rubio-Romero, Á., Carrillo, P., Zamora‐Muñoz, C., Valladolid-Martín, M., Camarero, L., Gacia, E., Puig, M., Buchaca, T., & Barquín, J. (2022). An evaluation of freshwater monitoring programs in ILTER nodes and mountain national parks: identifying key variables to monitor global change effects. Biodiversity And Conservation32(1), 65-94.

Pompeu, C. R., Peñas, F. J., Goldenberg-Vilar, A., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., & Barquín, J. (2022). Assessing the effects of irrigation and hydropower dams on river communities using taxonomic and multiple trait-based approaches. Ecological Indicators145, 109662.

Bravo‐Córdoba, F. J., Fuentes‐Pérez, J. F., García‐Vega, A., Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Sanz‐Ronda, F. J. (2022). Brown Trout Upstream Passage Performance for a Fishway with Water Drops between Pools beyond Fish Passage Design Recommendations. Water14(17), 2750.

Pompeu, C. R., Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2022). Large-scale spatial patterns of riverine communities: niche versus geographical distance. Biodiversity And Conservation32(2), 589-607.

Derepasko, D., Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Völk, M. (2021). Applying Optimization to Support Adaptive Water Management of Rivers. Water13(9), 1281.

Goldenberg-Vilar, A., Delgado, C., Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2021). The effect of altered flow regimes on aquatic primary producer communities: Diatoms and macrophytes. Ecohydrology15(1).

Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2019). Assessment of large-scale patterns of hydrological alteration caused by dams. Journal Of Hydrology572, 706-718.

Belmar, Ó., Booker, D. J., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2019). Modelling physical characteristics of river habitats. River Research And Applications35(7), 804-817.

Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Díaz, C. Á. (2018). A comparison of modeling techniques to predict hydrological indices in ungauged rivers. Limnética/LimnéTica37, 145-158.

Belmar, Ó., Barquín, J., Álvarez‐Martínez, J. M., Peñas, F. J., & Del Jesús, M. (2018). The role of forest maturity in extreme hydrological events. Ecohydrology11(4).

Estévez, E., Rodríguez-Castillo, T., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., Peñas, F. J., González-Ferreras, A. M., Lezcano, M. Á., & Barquín, J. (2017). Analysis of structural and functional indicators for assessing the health state of mountain streams. Ecological Indicators72, 553-564.

Rodríguez-Castillo, T., Barquín, J., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., Peñas, F. J., & Álvarez, C. (2017). Effects of sewage effluents and seasonal changes on the metabolism of three Atlantic rivers. Science Of The Total Environment599-600, 1108-1118.

Álvarez‐Cabria, M., González-Ferreras, A. M., Peñas, F. J., & Barquín, J. (2017). Modelling macroinvertebrate and fish biotic indices: From reaches to entire river networks. Science Of The Total Environment577, 308-318.

Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Álvarez, C. (2016). Assessing hydrologic alteration: Evaluation of different alternatives according to data availability. Ecological Indicators60, 470-482.

González-Ferreras, A. M., Barquín, J., & Peñas, F. J. (2016). Integration of habitat models to predict fish distributions in several watersheds of Northern Spain. Journal Of Applied Ichthyology32(1), 204-216.

Álvarez‐Cabria, M., Barquín, J., & Peñas, F. J. (2016). Modelling the spatial and seasonal variability of water quality for entire river networks: Relationships with natural and anthropogenic factors. Science Of The Total Environment545-546, 152-162.

Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Álvarez, C. (2016b). Sources of variation in hydrological classifications: Time scale, flow series origin and classification procedure. Journal Of Hydrology538, 487-499.

Fernández, D. M., Barquín, J., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., & Peñas, F. J. (2014). Land-use coverage as an indicator of riparian quality. Ecological Indicators41, 165-174.

Peñas, F.J., Juanes, J.A., Álvarez-Cabria, M., Álvarez, C., García, A., Puente, A., Barquín, J. (2014). Integration of hydrological and habitat simulation methods to define environmental flow regimes at the basin scale. Water and Environment Journal, 28, 252-260

Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., Snelder, T. H., Booker, D. J., & Álvarez, C. (2014). The influence of methodological procedures on hydrological classification performance. Hydrology And Earth System Sciences18(9), 3393-3409.

Peñas, F.J., Juanes, J.A., Galvan, C., Medina, R., Castanedo, S., Álvarez, C., Bárcena, J.F. (2013). Estimating environmental flow regimes requirements in well-mixed estuaries for Spain. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 134, pp.138-149.

Fernández, D. M., Barquín, J., Álvarez‐Cabria, M., & Peñas, F. J. (2012). Quantifying the performance of automated GIS-based geomorphological approaches for riparian zone delineation using digital elevation models. Hydrology And Earth System Sciences16(10), 3851-3862.

Penas, F.J., Calvo, M., Barquin, J. & Pedraz, L. (2011). Influence of data sources and processing methods on theoretical river network quality. Limnética30(2), 197-216.

Naura, M., Sear, D., Álvarez-Cabria, M., Peñas, F.J., Fernandez, D. & Barquin, J.2011. Integrating monitoring, expert knoweledge and habitat management within conservation organisations for the delivery of the water framework directive: A poposed approach. Limnetica, 30-2, pp.427-446.

Barquin, J., Fernandez, D., Álvarez-Cabria, M. & Peñas, F.J.2011. Riparian quality and habitat heterogeneity assessment in Cantabrian rivers. Limnetica. 30-2, pp.329-346.



Barquin, J., Álvarez-Cabria, M., Peñas, F.J., Silió, A., Álvarez, J.M. Álvarez, C. 2015. Optimización de las redes de seguimiento del estado de conservación en ríos de alta montaña. Proyecyos d eInvestigación en Parques Nacionales 2011-2013. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentacion y Medio Ambiente

Barquin, J., Ondiviela, B., Recio, M., Álvarez-Cabria, M., Peñas, F.J., Fernandez, D., Oti, L., García, A., Alvarez, C. & Juanes, J.A. 2012. Assessing the conservation status of alder-ash alluvial forest and Atlantic salmon in the Natura 2000 river network of Cantabria, Northern Spain. In (Boon, P.J. & Raven, P.J eds) Conservation and M;anagement. Wiley-Blackwell. pp.193-210. ISBN 978-0-470-68208-1.