I have concentrated most of my academic work and research efforts on the spatial and temporal dynamics of essential fish habitats, and how the functional connectivity and resilience of these habitats are influence by anthropogenic stressors. I received a B.S. degree in Environmental Science, and in Geography from the University of Puerto Rico (2004), and a dual M.S. degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management from Nova Southeastern University (2010). Currently, as a member of the Benthic Ecology Lab, I am concentrating my research on understanding the functional linkage between marine habitats in a heterogeneous seascape, as well as, the seascape effects on the distribution, diversity, and assemblages of estuarine and marine organisms. Specifically, I am using nearshore habitats of Biscayne Bay (Miami, FL, USA) to assess the processes and dynamics of seagrass seascapes fragmentation, and the ways in which seagrass seascape fragmentation patterns influence the movement, distribution, species interaction and niche space of ecologically and economically important fish species. The outcome of this research will help explain how future impacts of restoration and management activities may affect optimal seascape types and determine whether critical ecological thresholds could be exceeded in nearshore habitats of Biscayne Bay and how possible disruption to ecological thresholds could negatively influence the functional connectivity within the mangrove-seagrass ecotone.
Santos, R.O., Lirman, D., Serafy, J.E. (2011) Quantifying freshwater-induced fragmentation of submerged aquatic vegetation communities using a multi-scale landscape ecology approach. Marine Ecology Progress Series 427: 233-246.