I am an ecologist broadly interested in evaluating how freshwater ecosystems respond and are transformed by climate change and human activities. Specifically, I study the effects of hurricanes, droughts, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on aquatic communities (e.g., fish, shrimp, macroinvertebrates, algae), food webs, aquatic-terrestrial linkages, and leaf litter decomposition in urban and forested streams. I combine short-term experiments and long-term datasets to understand potential changes on the structure and function of stream ecosystems. My research also includes monitoring impacts of human activities on water quality and ecosystem health, using aquatic organisms as bioindicators. My study sites include a variety of stream types (e.g., lowland, montane, urban, perennial, and intermittent), mostly located in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. 

I collaborate with regional networks, such as the Freshwater Biodiversity Observation Network (FWBON) and Macrolatinos@, which seek to connect researchers, students, and consultants that are dedicated to the protection and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. I am also a member of the DEI Committee of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) in Puerto Rico, which aims to improve support and provide equal opportunity for scientists of historically excluded backgrounds at the LTER.


Selected Publications

  • Hernández-Abrams, D.D., Connelly, S., Freeman, M.C., Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P.E., & S.J. Wenger. 2022. Seasonal variability in macroinvertebrate assemblages in paired perennial and intermittent streams in Costa Rica. Hydrobiologia. Accepted. 
  • Maasri, A., Jähnig, S. C., Adamescu, M. C., Adrian, R., Baigun, C., Baird, Batista-Morales, A., Bonada, N., Brown, L., Cai, Q., Campos-Silva, J., Clausnitzer, V., Contreras-MacBeath, T., Cooke, S., Datry, T., Delacamara, G., Dijkstra, K.J., Tu Do, V., Domisch, S., Dudgeon, D., Eros, T., Freitag, H., Freyhof, J., Friedrich, J., Friedrichs-Manthey, M., Geist, J., Gessner, M., Goethals, P., Gollock., M., Gordon, C., Grossart, H-P., Gulemvuga, G., Gutierrez-Fonseca, P.E., et al. 2021. A Global Agenda for Advancing Freshwater Biodiversity Research. Ecology Letters. 25:255–263. 
  • Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P.E., Ramírez, A., Pringle, C.M., Torres, P.J., McDowell, W.H., Covich, A., Crowl, T. & O. Pérez-Reyes. 2020.  When the rainforest dries up: drought effects on a tropical rainforest stream in Puerto Rico. Freshwater Sciences, 39(2), 197-212.
  • Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P.E., & A., Ramírez. 2020. Mayfly emergence production and body length response to hydrology in a tropical lowland stream. PeerJ, 8:e9883.
  • Classen-Rodríguez, L., Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P.E. & A., Ramírez. 2019. Leaf-litter decomposition and macroinvertebrate assemblages along an urban stream gradient in Puerto Rico. Biotropica, 51, 641–651.
  • Wohl, E., Hinshaw, S.K., Scamardo, J.E., & P.E. Gutiérrez-Fonseca. 2019. Transient Organic Jams in Puerto Rican Mountain Streams After Hurricanes. River Research and Applications, 35, 280–289.
  • Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P. E., Ramírez, A., & C.M., Pringle. 2018.  Large-scale climatic phenomena drive fluctuations in macroinvertebrate assemblages in lowland tropical streams, Costa Rica: The importance of ENSO events in determining long-term (15y) patterns. PLoS One, 13(2), e0191781-e0191781.
  • Ramírez, A., Gutiérrez-Fonseca, P.E., Kelly, SP., Engman, A.C., Wagner, K., Rosas, K.G., & N., Rodríguez. 2018. Drought facilitates species invasions in urban streams: Results from a long-term study of tropical island fish assemblage structure. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6, 115.
Pablo Gutiérrez-Fonseca

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Environmental Studies, Natural Resources
Research: Freshwater ecosystems, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, disturbance ecology, climate change


  • Ph.D. Ecology and Systematics, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, Puerto Rico 2016
  • Licentiate in Aquatic Sciences, University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica 2009
  • Licentiate in Aquatic Sciences, University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica 2009


  • c: 802-399-5462
  • o: 802-656-8544
Office Location:

308A Aiken Center, 81 Carrigan Dr

  1. Pablo's website