Isabel C. Romero
College of Marine Science
University of South Florida


  • B.S. Marine Biology 1998, Universidad del Valle, Colombia
  • Ph.D. Ocean Science 2009, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

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Research Interests

My research interests lie on the fields of biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. The goals of my research is to use a combination of different techniques to better understand the functional relationship among biological groups and the environment under natural and disturbed conditions. At present, my research focus on elucidating biogeochemical indicators in sediments, water and fish of ecosystem change resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Analytical Experience

  • Lipid Analysis: Molecular and isotopic composition of lipids in microorganisms, plants, sediment and water (Phospholipid fatty acids, n-alkane, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) using GC-FID, GC-MS, GC-IRMS instruments. Low molecular weight fatty acids in pore-waters using HPLC analysis.
  • Molecular biology: Nucleic acids quantification (PicoGreen?), DNA profiling (isolation, purification, PCR, electrophoresis), Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP), cloning of PCR amplified genes, phylogenetic trees.
  • Chemical Analysis: Colorimetric analyses (H2S, NH4+, PO43-, NO3-, NO2-), Chla (sediment and water), enzymes (phosphatase), carbon and nitrogen in solid phase (Elemental Analyzer coupled to isotope ratio mass spectrometer), water isotopes (dD, d18O; integrated-cavity output spectroscopy), High vacuum extraction lines for plants and sediments water extraction, carbon and nitrogen metabolism (5N2, 15NO3-, 13C-bicarbonate incorporation).
  • Statistical Modelling: Generalized Additive Models (GAM), partial Redundancy Analysis (RDA), Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA).



Romero I. C. and Feakins S. J. 2011. Biomarker isotopic signals of ecological responses to environmental change in salt marsh plants, Carpinteria Reserve, California. Organic Geochemistry 42: 618-629.

Romero I. C., M. Jacobson Meyers, J.A. Fuhrman, M. Fogel and D.G. Capone. 2011. Long-term nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization effects on N2 fixation rates and nifH gene community patterns in mangrove sediments. Marine Ecology: 1-11.

Fogel M. L., M. J. Wooller, J. Cheeseman, B. J. Smallwood, Q. Roberts, I. Romero and M. Jacobsen Meyers. 2008. Unusually negative nitrogen isotopic compositions (?15N) of mangroves and lichens in an oligotrophic, microbially-influenced ecosystem. Biogeosciences 5: 1704-2008.

Lucero C.H., Cantera J. R. and Romero I. C. 2006. Variability of macrobenthic assemblages under abnormal climatic conditions in a small scale tropical estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 68: 17-26.

Romero I. C., J.R. Cantera and E. Pena. 2006. Leaf consumption by herbivores in mangroves of the Dagua river estuary, Pacific coast of Colombia. Rev. Biol. Trop. (ISSN-0034-7744) Vol. 54 (4): 1205-1214.

Romero I. C., G. Toro-Farmer y JR Cantera. 1997. Primer registro para el Pacifico colombiano de Patelloida semirubida (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Acmaeidae). Boletin Ecotropica: Ecosistemas Tropicales (ISSN: 0122-3313) No. 31.


Presentations in Meetings and Published Abstracts

Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah. (2012) Organic geochemical evidence for oil spill impacts on fish in the Gulf of Mexico: comparative and quantitative analyses of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Isabel C. Romero, David J. Hollander, William Patterson, Ester Quintana-Rizzo, Andrew Kane, Steven Murawski, Ernst B. Peebles, Greg Ellis, Ethan A. Goddard, Nicola Zenzola, Zachary Means, Joseph J. Torres

ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (2011) Trace metal co-limitation controls on nitrogen fixation in lakes with varying trophic status. Romero I.C., Klein N.J., Barada L., Vo J., Liss A.M., Cutter L., Gunderson T., Tiahlo M., Glass J.B., Sańudo-Wilhelmy S.A., Capone D.G.

7th Annual Southern California Geobiology Symposium, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. (2010) Plant leaf wax D/H fractionation in a hypersaline Coastal Marsh. Romero I. C. and Feakins S. J. Poster Presentation

AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA. (2009) Molecular Insights into Plant-Microbial Processes and Carbon Storage in Mangrove Ecosystems. I.C. Romero, S. Ziegler, M. Fogel, M. Jacobson, J.A. Fuhrman, D.G. Capone

14th Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, Florida. (2008) Interaction between diazotrophic bacteria and mangrove roots under different nutrient conditions. Romero I.C., Fuhrman J.A., Jacobson M., Fogel M.L., Steele J.A. and Capone D.G.. Poster Presentation.

12th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME12), Cairns, Australia. (2008) Ecology of nitrogen-fixing microbial populations in the rhizosphere of mangrove sediments. Romero I. C., Fuhrman J. A., Jacobson M., and Capone D. G. Poster Presentation.

17th Biennial Conference of the Estuarine Research Federation (ERF), Seattle, Washington. (2003) Distribution of nutrients associated with natural tree height gradient of nutrient limited trees in Belize. Smallwood B.J., Romero I.C., Thornton D., Jensen H., Jacobson M.E. Poster Presentation.

13th Annual V. M. Goldschmidt Conference, Japan. (2003) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 67, Issue 18, Supplement 1, p.A99. Dissecting the nitrogen cycle in a tropical mangrove ecosystem. Fogel M., Wooler M., Jacobson M., Cheeseman J., Smallwood B. and Romero I.C.


Other Presentations

Invited talk, Earth Science Department, University of Southern California. (2009) “Sediment geochemistry and ecological patterns in bacteria from Belizean mangroves”

Invited talk, University California, Irvine. (2009) “Plant-microbial interactions in mangrove sediments under long-term nutrient enrichment experiments: An exploratory study”

Biology Department, University of Southern California. (2008) “Statistical Modeling of associative and free living nitrogen-fixing bacteria in mangrove sediments”

Catalina Island-Wrigley Institute, University of Southern California. (2008) “Fundamentals of N2 Fixation in Coastal Ecosystems”

Biology Department, University of Southern California. (2008) “Diazotrophs Ecology in Mangrove Sediments”

Biology Department, University of Southern California. (2007) “Plant-Microbial Interactions in Mangrove Sediments”

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama. (2003) “Biogeochemistry of sediments associated with mangroves in Belize”