Blanca Rios Touma
Blanca’s research has focused on the effects of natural and human disturbance on benthic communities. She studied biology in Ecuador and started her journey studying rivers with Dr. Dean Jacobsen studying macroinvertebrates from Andean streams, especially aquatic snails. She attended Universitat de Barcelona for her graduate studies, where she was involved on several projects of ecological quality of Mediterranean streams and the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).
Her MSc Thesis focused on the ecological quality on Andean streams, applying the same principles from the WFD. For her PhD thesis she studied the effect of natural and anthropogenic flow fluctuations on the macroinvertebrate community of a high altitude Andean Stream.
Since 2009 Blanca has been working on the land use effects on the ecological status of Andean Rivers and the natural history of Andean aquatic macroinvertebrates, especially caddisflies. From 2012 to 2013 she was a Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Kondolf, at U. C. Berkeley, studying the effectiveness, from the ecological perspective, of river restoration and its monitoring. This research focused on the city of Portland, OR and the lower Colorado River in AZ, two contrasting examples of restoration approaches and monitoring in highly modified catchments. Currently she is a Professor in Ecuador at Universidad de las Américas, and her research focuses on multiple stressors in rivers and freshwater biodiversity.