Carmen Morales, PhD.

Senior Researcher @ IMO
Associate Professor @ UDEC



Senior Researcher @ IMO


Doctor @ IMO


Dr. Carmen E. Morales (Chile, 1955) received her Ph.D. from the University of London (UK) in 1992. Her thesis focused on the role of zooplankton in the transfer of organic carbon in the water column, emphasizing the importance of smaller sized zooplankton and active transport of carbon. This research was developed in the framework of the international JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study).

In 1993 she obtained a grant from CONICYT (National Council of Science and Technology) for a postdoctoral study FIFG (Fisheries Development Institute). As part of that research, she described the spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton biomass in the northern region of Chile and its relation to oceanographic conditions. She also carried out one of the first characterizations of the spatial and interannual variability of oxygen minimum zones in the northern region of Chile and a description of how it affects plankton and larvae of anchovy.

In 1995, she joined the Secretariat of Fisheries as a consultant on marine protected areas, and developed specific legislation concerning marine parks and reserves. This is specific to the creation of the first marine reserve in Chile in 1997.

Since 1997 she works at the University of Concepción (UdeC) FONDAP first as a researcher and then as Associate Professor (2000-present). Part of the research team that created the FONDAP-COPAS (2000-2012) Center and recently, which creates the Millennium Institute of Oceanography.

Her most relevant contributions to oceanography in recent years are linked to the physical-biological interactions focused on the effects of coastal upwelling, fronts, and mesoscale eddies on the structure and dynamics of planktonic communities (picoplankton to mesoplankton).

Her focus of research at the Millennium Institute of Oceanography is focused on the effect of mesoscale processes and submesoescala on the structure and dynamics of plankton communities in the South-eastern Pacific.

She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journals Journal of Plankton Research, and Journal of Marine Biology and Oceanography. She is also a member of the international CLIVAR Pacific Panel Program (Climate Variability and Predictability) component of the International Programme WCRP (World Climate Research Programme).


Co-tutor of


Local and remote physical processes driving variability of the planktonic system in the Juan Fernández Archipelago: A multidisciplinary framework providing conservation insights

Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Volume 31, Pages 253-272

doi:10.1002/aqc.3499February, 2021

Parada, C.Escribano, R.Morales, C.E.Ernst, B.Cornejo-Guzmán, S.Santa Cruz, F.Sandoval-Belmar, M.Rivara, P.........,

Mesoscale variability in the boundaries of the oxygen minimum zone in the eastern South Pacific: influence of intrathermocline eddies

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

doi:10.1029/2019JC015272December, 2020

The Influence of Diapycnal Nutrient Fluxes on Phytoplankton Size Distribution in an Area of Intense Mesoscale and Submesoscale Activity off Concepción, Chile

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Volume 125, Pages 1-20

doi:10.1029/2019JC015539May, 2020

Major changes in diatom abundance, productivity, and net community metabolism in a windier and dryer coastal climate in the southern Humboldt Current

Progress in Oceanography | Volume 168, Pages 196-209

doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2018.10.001November, 2018

Jacob, B.Tapia, F.J.Quiñones, R.A.Montes, R.Sobarzo, M.Schneider, W.Daneri, G.Morales, C.E.Montero, P.González, H.E.

Phytoplankton size structure in association with mesoscale eddies off Central-Southern Chile: the satellite application of a phytoplankton size-class model

Remote Sensing | Volume 10, Issue 6, Article 834

doi:10.3390/rs10060834June, 2018

Coastal upwelling front detection off Central Chile (36.5–37°S) and spatio-temporal variability of frontal characteristics

Remote Sensing | Volume 10, Issue 5, Article 690

doi:10.3390/rs10050690May, 2018

Mesozooplankton respiration and community structure in a seamount region of the eastern South Pacific

Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers | Volume 135, Pages 74-87

doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2018.03.008May, 2018

Improving the remote sensing retrieval of phytoplankton functional types (PFT) using empirical orthogonal functions: A case study in a coastal upwelling region

Remote Sensing | Volume 10, Issue 4, Article 498

doi:10.3390/rs10040498April, 2018

How biophysical interactions associated with sub- and mesoscale structures affect planktonic larvae of the spiny lobster in the Juan Fernández Ridge: A modeling approach

Progress in Oceanography | Volume 162, Pages 98-119

doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2018.02.017March, 2018

Front-eddy influence on water column properties, phytoplankton community structure, and cross-shelf exchange of diatom taxa in the shelf-slope area off Concepción (∼36–37°S)

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Volume 122, Issue 11, Pages 8944-8965

doi:10.1002/2017JC013111November, 2017

Morales, C.E.Anabalón, V.Bento, J.P.Hormazábal, S.Cornejo, M.Correa-Ramírez, M.A.Silva, N.

Micro-phytoplankton community structure in the coastal upwelling zone off Concepción (central Chile): Annual and inter-annual fluctuations in a highly dynamic environment

Progress in Oceanography | Volume 149, Pages 174-188

doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2016.10.011December, 2016

Non-limiting food conditions for growth and production of the copepod community in a highly productive upwelling zone.

Continental Shelf Research | Volume 126, Pages 1-14

doi:10.1016/j.csr.2016.07.018September, 2016

Phytoplankton phenology in the coastal upwelling region off central-southern Chile (35S–38S): Time-space variability, coupling to environmental factors, and sources of uncertainty in the estimates

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Volume 120, Issue 2, Pages 813-831

doi:10.1002/2014JC010330February, 2015

The structure of planktonic communities under variable coastal upwelling conditions off Cape Ghir (31°N), in the Canary Current System (NW Africa)

Progress in Oceanography | Volume 120, Pages 320-339

doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2013.10.015January, 2014

Anabalón, V.Arístegui, J.Morales, C.E.Andrade, I.Benavides, M.Correa-Ramírez, M.Espino, M.Ettahiri, O.Hormazábal, S.Makaoui, A.Montero, M.F.Orbi, A.
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