Home » People » Dr Alberto Maceda Veiga

Dr Alberto Maceda Veiga


Before I moved to the University of Barcelona as MSc student in 2006, I worked in the aquarium hobby industry for 6 years. I did my MSc thesis at the University of Barcelona on the effects of a forest fire on the native and introduced fish species in a Mediterranean stream in the Natural Park of Sant Llorenç del Munt i Serra de l’Obac (Catalonia, Spain). A year later I started my PhD at the University of Barcelona on the use of fish as bioindicators in ecosystem health assessment using physiological markers, bioaccumulation of metals in fish tissues and changes in the composition of freshwater fish communities in Catalonia as diagnostic tools. I finished my PhD in June 2011 and it was awarded within the best PhD dissertations of my academic course in Biology at the University of Barcelona. Between June 2011 and May 2013 I was contracted as assistant researcher at the University of Barcelona and I finally moved to Cardiff in May 2013 for two years as a Marie Curie Fellow for addressing the effects of the eutrophication by nitrates in a host-parasite system.


Position: Research Fellow


Telephone: +44(0)29 29875384

Extension: 75384

Location: Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX, Room: C7.29



Alberto1My research at Cardiff University was funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship (Para-Tox project: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-327941, see the figure) thanks to which I could investigate the effects of nitrate pollution on species interactions, including host-parasite relationships, in a series of long-term toxicity experiments using a range of aquatic organisms: water fleas (Daphnia magna), two crayfish species (Orconectes virilis and Pacifastacus leniusculus) and fishes (guppies, Poecilia reticulata and three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus). Experimentally induced infections revealed that guppy susceptibility to Gyrodactylus turnbulli infections increased following a 30 day nitrate pre-exposure to 50 mg/l and 250 mg/l. The highest nitrate concentration was also lethal for the fish and both nitrate levels for the parasite. Such findings, however, were not mirrored in naturally infected three-spined sticklebacks since a 50 mg/l nitrate exposure did not alter the abundance of the ectosymbionts Gyrodactylus spp. and Trichodina spp. Nonetheless, nitrate levels below 200 mg/l significantly altered the foraging behaviour of two crayfish species, which highlights the difficulties of determining safe water quality when there is such variation between taxa. Also, a microcosm experiment with Daphnia magna interacting with natural microbial communities indicated that warming and nitrate concentrations ranging from 270 to 280 mg/l affected the life-history traits of D. magna, including the filtering rate. Given the key role of D. magna in nutrient cycling, our results increase our knowledge of how nitrate pollution under climate change may affect freshwater ecosystems. This experiment also enabled us to redefine the tolerance thresholds of protists and micro-metazoans, which are used as sentinel taxa in monitoring studies of freshwater ecosystems and sewage treatment plant performance. My research into nitrate pollution now continues at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where I am co-supervising the PhD student Oriol Cano-Rocabayera on the effects of nitrates on the invasive eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) and how the effects observed at the individual level may translate into multitrophic impacts on the food-webs of coastal lagoons. Also, studies on invasive species are the focus of my new postdoc position at Doñana Biological Station-Spanish Research Council (CSIC), Spain.



Maceda-Veiga A., Webster G., Canals O., Salvado H., Weightman AJ., Cable J. (2015). Chronic effects of temperature and nitrate pollution on Daphnia magna: is this cladoceran suitable for widespread use as a tertiary treatment? Water Research 83:141-152. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.06.036.


Novo M., Cunha L., Maceda-Veiga, A., Talavera, J.A., Hodson M.E., Spurgeon D., Bruford M.W., Morgan A.J. & Kille P. (2015). Multiple introductions and environmental factors affecting the establishment of invasive species on a volcanic island. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 85: 89-100 (DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.02.031).

Maceda-Veiga, A., Figuerola, J., Martínez-Silvestre, A., Viscor, G., Ferrari, N. & Pacheco, M. (2015). Inside the Redbox: applications of haematology in wildlife monitoring and ecosystem health assessment. Science of the Total Environment 514:322-332. (DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.004).

Cano-Rocabayera O., Maceda-Veiga, A., De Sostoa A. (2014). Fish fins and scales as non-lethally sampled tissues for stable isotope analysis in five fish species of north – eastern Spain. Environmental Biology of Fishes : 1-8. (

Maceda-Veiga, A., Domínguez-Domínguez O., Escribano-Alacid J.,  Lyons J. (2014). The aquarium hobby: can sinners become saints in freshwater fish conservation? Fish and Fisheries Early view (

Maceda-Veiga, A. & Cable, J. (2014) Efficacy of sea salt, metronidazole and formalin/malachite green baths in treating Ichthyophthirius multifiliis infections of mollies (Poecilia sphenops). Bulletin of the European Association of Fish Pathologists 34:5.

Monroy M., Maceda-Veiga, A., Caiola N., De Sostoa A. (2014). Trophic interactions between native and introduced fish species in a littoral fish community. Journal of Fish Biology 85:1693-1706 (

Maceda-Veiga, A., Monroy, M., Salvadó, H., Cable, J. & De Sostoa, A. (2013) Ectoparasites of native cyprinid Barbus haasi: first record of Trichodina acuta and Trichodina fultoni in Iberian catchments. Bulletin of the European Association of Fish Pathologists 33:187.

Monroy M., Maceda-Veiga, A. & De Sostoa A. (2014). Metal concentration in water, sediment and four fish species from Lake Titicaca reveals a large-scale environmental concern. Science of the Total Environment 487: 233-244. (

Maceda-Veiga A., Green A.J., De Sostoa A. (2014). Scaled body-mass index shows how habitat quality influences the condition of four fish taxa in north-eastern Spain and provides a novel indicator of ecosystem health. Freshwater Biology Early View: DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12336.

Maceda-Veiga A., Escribano-Alacid J., De Sostoa A., García-Berthou E. (2013). The aquarium trade as a potential source of fish introductions in southwestern Europe. Biological Invasions

Maceda-Veiga A. (2013). Towards the conservation of freshwater fish: Iberian Rivers as an example of threats and management practices. Reviews in Fish biology and Fisheries 23: 1-22

Maceda-Veiga A., Monroy M., Navarro E., Viscor G., De Sostoa A. (2013). Metal concentrations and pathological responses of wild native fish exposed to sewage discharge in a Mediterranean river. Science of the Total Environment 449: 9-19

Maceda-Veiga A., De Sostoa A., Sánchez-Espada S. (2013). Factors affecting the establishment of the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii in the Mediterranean rivers of the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. Hydrobiologia 703: 33-45.

Figuerola B., Maceda-Veiga A., De Sostoa A. (2012). Assessing the effects of sewage effluents in a Mediterranean creek: fish population features and biotic indices. Hydrobiologia 694: 75-86.

Benejam L., Alcaraz C., Benito J., Caiola N., Casals F., Maceda-Veiga A., De Sostoa A., García-Berthou E. (2012). Capturability and intercalibration of four electrofishing teams in Mediterranean streams. Fisheries Research 123-124, 9-15.

Maceda-Veiga A., Monroy M., De Sostoa A. (2012). Metal bioaccumulation in the Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis) in a Mediterranean River receiving effluents from urban and industrial wastewater treatment plants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 76: 93-101.

Maceda-Veiga A., De Sostoa A. (2011). Observational evidence of the sensitivity of some fish species to environmental stressors in Mediterranean rivers. Ecological Indicators 11, 311-317

Maceda-Veiga A., Monroy M., Viscor G., De Sostoa A. (2010). Changes in non-specific biomarkers in the Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis) exposed to sewage effluents in a Mediterranean stream (Catalonia, NE Spain). Aquatic Toxicology 100: 229-237.

Maceda-Veiga A., Monleón-Getino A., Caiola N., Casals F., De Sostoa A. (2010). Changes in fish assemblages in catchments in north eastern Spain: biodiversity, conservation status and introduced species. Freshwater Biology 55, 1734-1746.

Vinyoles D., De Sostoa A., Franch C., Maceda-Veiga A., Caiola N., Casals F. (2010). Life-history traits of the Stone loach Barbatula barbatula (Linnaeus) in a Mediterranean climate stream. Journal of Fish Biology 77, 20-32

Maceda-Veiga A., Salvadó H., Vinyoles D., De Sostoa A. (2009). Outbreaks of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis in Redtail Barbs Barbus haasi in a Mediterranean Stream during Drought. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 21, 189-194.