Beatriz Reguera


Beatriz was born in La Habana, Cuba in 1953 and moved to Cantabria, northern Spain in 1961. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of the Basque Country in 1975, worked at MAFF-Lowestoft in 1980 supported by a British Council scholarship, and worked at the University of East Anglia in 1982-83 supported by a British Council-Cañada Blanch grant. After completion of her analysis of phytoplankton from the Southern Bight of the North Sea, she sought out Prof. Marta Estrada as mentor for her Ph D thesis in 1984. But changing topics and priorities after moving to Vigo interrupted the work with diatoms. At the end, the thesis was on Dinophysis biology, autoecology and toxinology. She was finally awarded a Doctor in Biology in 2003 from the University of Barcelona (co-supervised by Prof Francisco G. Figueiras).


2018. ISSHA Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award ,18th ICHA Conference, Nantes, France. 

2011. IOC Commemoration Medal IOC 50 Anniversary for outstanding contribution (1992-2011) to the IOC-UNESCO Harmful Algal Blooms programme.

Professional Career

After graduation, Beatriz became an “alumna libre” (unpaid student) at the IEO laboratory in Santander, worked on aquaculture (phytoplankton and rotifer production) and started with phytoplankton (self taught). A chance event in Galicia provided a spur to her future. A Europe-wide PSP outbreak in 1976 was traced to Galicia. In response, Spain created a monitoring network with over 50 new positions. In this way, Beatriz had her first contract in 1977 as “research assistant” (civil servant in 1979) and the opportunity to visit the phytoplankton group in A Coruña and participate in her first cruise in the Galician Rías. But the gestation period was to last several years, including several escapes from Santander to the UK in search of more intellectual opportunities. In 1984, she moved to Vigo and joined Santiago Fraga in a group focused on toxic ‘red tides’. A great opportunity came with the joint Spain-US project on “Toxic Dinoflagellates of the Galician Coast”. Her best memory, on board the RV Navaz in 1985, absorbing the contagious enthusiasm of Karen Steidinger and Clarice Yenstch, who taught Isabel Bravo and her to do single cell isolations, establish cultures, and a thrilled Clarice seeing Dinophysis acuta fluoresce orange in the epifluorescence microscope. Short stays in Bigelow Laboratory, meeting Bob Guillard who loved telling his little tricks to grow “the bugs” to visiting scientists, and in Woods Hole with Don Anderson followed. And most inspiring, meeting Marie Kat at the Dino IV Conference, 1986, talking about her struggle to keep Dinophysis alive, and Dean Jacobsen describing pallium-feeding in Protoperidinium. In 1987 she obtained tenure as “Oceanographer” and since then was always leading HAB-related projects in coordination with other Spanish institutions, or integrated in EU international projects. In 2014 she became the first Research Professor at the IEO when this position was created  in the institution.

Key HAB contributions

Beatriz has over 30 years experience in HAB autoecology, population dynamics, monitoring and management. Her main focus is on toxin-producing planktonic algae which pose risks to human health and cause problems for aquaculture industries, in particular Dinophysis species producers of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). These are low biomass HABs that even at densities of a few hundreds per litre cause lengthy shellfish harvesting closures in Atlantic coastal waters in Europe. B. Reguera’s objective has been to obtain knowledge of species-specific differences (niche descriptions), mixotrophic behaviour and the physical-biological interactions driving the initiation, development and decline of Dinophysis in upwelling-influenced and stratified systems. Her work has informed conceptual models and contributed to the parameterization of biological processes for the development of predictive models in the framework of operational oceanography. Many of us remember her enthusiasm in explaining the polymorphic life cycles and behaviour of Dinophysis species, and the design of field sampling strategies to estimate their physiological parameters in situ. Beatriz’s most outstanding contribution undoubtedly has been as a tireless mentor, promoter and communicator of HAB research by serving on numerous committees and panels. She hosted the highly successful 8th ICHA conference in Vigo in 1997, since 1992 served as the Spanish delegate to IPHAB which she chaired from 2002-2006, served two terms as ISSHA President (2008-2014), was member of the SCOR-IOC GEOHAB Scientific Steering Committee (2002-2006), chaired the ICES-IOC Working Group on HAB Dynamics (Chair 1992-1996), and currently is chief editor of the IOC Harmful Algae News bulletin.

Academic and Mentoring activities

Supervised PhD candidates: Gemita Pizarro (co-director, José M. Franco), Lourdes Velo-Suárez, Laura Escalera-Moura, Patricio A. Díaz-Gómez (co-director, Manuel Ruiz-Villarreal), and María García-Portela (co-director with Francisco Rodríguez)

Beatriz has positively impacted the lives and careers of many people in HAB research, notably in Spanish speaking nations throughout Latin America and in North Africa. This is well demonstrated by her 64 visits to 24 countries in the capacity of invited lecturer/ advisor/ United Nations Expert Missions (FAO, IAEA, IOC, IEO).

10 Key HAB publications

Díaz, P.A., Ruiz-Villarreal, M., Pazos, Y., Moita, T., Reguera, B. 2016. Climate variability and Dinophysis acuta blooms in an upwelling system. Harmful Algae 53: 145-159

Reguera, B., Alonso, R., Moreira, A., Méndez , S., Dechraoui-Bottein, M.-Y. (Eds). 2016. Guide for designing and implementing a plan to monitor toxin-producing microalgae. 2nd Ed. IOC of UNESCO and IAEA, Paris and Vienna. IOC Manuals and Guides, no. 59. 66 pp. (Spanish and English).

Reguera B, Riobó P, Rodríguez F, Díaz PA, Pizarro G, Paz B, Franco JM, Blanco J. 2014. Dinophysis toxins: causative organisms, distribution and fate in shellfish. Mar. Drugs 12: 394-461.

Reguera B, Velo-Suárez L, Raine R, Park MG. 2012. Harmful Dinophysis species: a review. Harmful Algae 14: 87–106.

Trainer VL, Pitcher GC, Reguera B, Smayda TJ 2010. The distribution and impacts of harmful algal bloom species in eastern boundary upwelling systems. Progress in Oceanography 85: 33-52.

Velo Suárez L, González-Gil S, Gentien P, Lunven M, Bechemin C, Fernand L, Raine R, Reguera B. 2008. Thin layers of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. and the fate of Dinophysis acuminata during an upwelling-downwelling cycle in a Galician Ría. Limnology and Oceanography 53: 1816-1834.

Reguera B, Garcés E, Bravo I, Pazos Y, Ramilo I, González-Gil S. 2003. In situ division rates of several species of Dinophysis estimated by a postmitotic index. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 249:117-131.

Reguera B, González-Gil S. 2001. Small cell and intermediate cell formation in species of Dinophysis (Dinophyceae, Dinophysiales). Journal of Phycology 37: 318-333.

Reguera, B., Blanco, J., Fernández, M.L., Wyatt, T. (Eds) (1998). Harmful Algae. Xunta de Galicia and IOC of UNESCO Publishers, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 650 pp. (ISBN 84-453-2166-8)

Fraga, S., Anderson, D.M., Bravo, I., Reguera, B., Steidinger, K., Yentsch, C.M. 1988. Influence of upwelling relaxation on dinoflagellates and shellfish toxicity in Ría de Vigo, Spain. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Science 27: 349-361


Partly based on nomination letters (from Pat Tester and Gustaaf  Hallegraeff) for the Yasumoto Award