Dr. Manuel E. Ortiz Santaliestra

Former Member
Building C I, Room 101b

Research Interests

Every day, thousands of chemical substances are released to the environment because of different human activities: emissions of combustion gases, domestic and industrial wastes, agricultural application of pesticides, etc. Ecosystems must deal with all these substances, many of which may alter their functioning, and that is why environmental pollution is undoubtedly one of the reasons behind the global biodiversity loss.

I study the effects of environmental pollution on wildlife using a tiered approach, from the physiological processes that help understanding the mechanisms of action of pollutants to the population and community responses that serve to estimate the ecological effects of pollution. I am also interested in the transfer of this knowledge into risk assessment schemes in order to improve the efficacy of evaluation procedures to protect wildlife from the impact of environmental pollution. My model organisms are amphibians, reptiles and birds.

Academic Achievements

  • July 2000. B.Sc. Biology. University of Salamanca (Spain)
  • November 2002. M.Sc. Zoology. University of Salamanca (Spain)
  • February 2008. Ph.D. Biology. University of Salamanca (Spain)


  • April 2014-present. Postdoctoral Researcher (IEF-Marie Curie Fellow, financed by the EU). Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau
  • March 2013-March 2014. Postdoctoral Fellow (financed by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology). CESAM & Biology Dept., University of Aveiro (Portugal)
  • March 2010-February 2013. Postodoctoral Researcher (Juan de la Cierva Fellow, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science) Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, Univesity of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)
  • October 2008-February 2010. Research Associate. University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)
  • May 2005-September 2008. Assistant Teacher. University of Salamanca (Spain)
  • June 2003-September 2003. Visiting Scientist. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (USA)
  • January 2002-April 2005. PhD Fellow (financed by the Spanish Ministry of Education). University of Salamanca (Spain)
  • January 2001-December 2001. Project Assistant. University of Salamanca (Spain)

Current Research Projects


Peer Review Publications (SCI-indexed Journals, reprints on request)

  • Vallverdú-Coll N., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Mougeot F., Vidal D., Mateo R. (2015) Sublethal Pb exposure produces season-dependent effects on immune response, oxidative balance and investment in carotenoid-based coloration in red-legged partridges. Environmental Science and Technology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es505148d
  • Lopez-Antia A., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., García de Blas E., Camarero P.R., Mougeot F., Mateo R. (2015) Adverse effects of thiram treated seed ingestion on the reproductive performance and the offspring immune function of the red-legged partridge. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.2925
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A. (2015) Influence of dissolved oxygen conditions on toxicity of ammonium nitrate to larval natterjack toads. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-014-0126-3
  • Lopez-Antia A., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Mougeot F., Mateo R. (2015) Imidacloprid-treated seed ingestion has lethal effect on adult partridges and reduces both breeding investment and offspring immunity. Environmental Research 136, 97-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2014.10.023
  • Lopez-Antia A., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Mateo R. (2014) Experimental approaches to test pesticide-treated seed avoidance by birds under a simulated diversification of food sources. Science of the Total Environment 496, 179-187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.07.031
  • Cary T.L., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Karasov W.H. (2014) Immunomodulation in post-metamorphic northern leopard frogs, Lithobates pipiens, following larval exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ether. Environmental Science and Technology 48, 5910-5919. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es405776m
  • Mateo R., Vallverdú-Coll N., López-Antia A., Taggart M.A., Martínez-Haro M., Guitart R., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E. (2014) Reducing Pb poisoning in birds and Pb exposure in game meat consumers: The dual benefit of effective Pb shot regulation. Environment International 63, 163-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2013.11.006
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Rittenhouse T.A.G., Cary T.L., Karasov W.H. (2013) Interspecific and post-metamorphic variation in susceptibility of three North American anurans to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Journal of Herpetology 47, 286-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1670/11-134
  • Rodríguez-Estival J., Pérez de la Lastra J.M., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Vidal D., Mateo R. (2013) Expression of immunoregulatory genes and its relationship with Pb exposure and Pb-mediated oxidative stress in wild ungulates from an abandoned mining area. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32, 876-883. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.2134
  • Lopez-Antia A., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Mougeot F., Mateo R. (2013) Experimental exposure of red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) to seeds coated with imidacloprid, thiram and difenoconazole. Ecotoxicology 22, 125-138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10646-012-1009-x
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Marco A. (2012) Density effects on ammonium nitrate toxicity on amphibians. Survival, growth and cannibalism. Aquatic Toxicology 110-111, 170-176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.01.010
  • Mateo R., Millán J., Rodríguez-Estival J., Camarero P.R., Palomares F., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E. (2012) Levels of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in the critically endangered Iberian lynx and other sympatric carnivores in Spain. Chemosphere 86, 691-700. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.10.037
  • Van Schmidt N.D., Cary T.L., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Karasov W.H. (2012) Effects of chronic polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposure on gonadal development in the northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31, 347-354. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.1702
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Fisher M.C., Fernández-Beaskoetxea S., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Bosch J. (2011) Ambient ultraviolet B radiation decreases the prevalence of infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in two amphibian species. Conservation Biology 25, 975-982. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01700.x
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M., Marco A. (2011) Responses of toad tadpoles to ammonium nitrate fertilizer and predatory stress. Differences between populations on a local scale. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30, 1440-1446. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.523
  • Ribeiro R., Sillero N., Carretero M.A., Alarcos G., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Lizana M., Llorente G.A. (2011) The pond network: Can structural connectivity reflect on (amphibian) biodiversity patterns?. Landscape Ecology 62, 673-680. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-011-9592-4
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M., Marco A. (2011) Influence of a combination of agricultural chemicals on embryos of the gold-striped salamander (Chioglossa lusitanica). Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 60, 672-680. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-010-9570-x
  • Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Lizana M., Diéguez-Uribeondo J. (2011) Differences in susceptibility to Saprolegnia infections among embryonic stages of two anuran species. Oecologia 165, 819-826. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-010-1889-5
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A., Lizana M. (2011) Realistic levels of a fertilizer impair Iberian newt embryonic development. Herpetologica 67, 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-10-0001.1
  • Bryszewska M.A., Sanz E., Sanz-Landaluze J., Muñoz-Olivas R., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Cámara C. (2011) Evaluation of arsenic biotransformation by Iberian green frog during metamorphosis. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 26, 178-186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C0JA00084A
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M., Marco A. (2010) Influence of ammonium nitrate on larval anti-predatory responses of two amphibian species. Aquatic Toxicology 99, 198-204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.04.020
  • Ortiz-Santaliesta M.E., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M., Marco A. (2010) Adaptation to osmotic stress provides protection against ammonium nitrate in Pelophylax perezi embryos. Environmental Pollution 158, 934-940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2009.09.011
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M. (2009) Alteration of courtship behavior because of water acidification and minor effect of ammonium nitrate in the Iberian newt (Lissotriton boscai). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28, 1500-1505. http://dx.doi.org/10.1897/08-580.1
  • Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Lizana M., Diéguez-Uribeondo J. (2008) Saprolegnia diclina: another species responsible for the emergent disease ‘Saprolegnia infections’ in amphibians. FEMS Microbiology Letters 279, 23-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2007.01002.x
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A., Fernández-Benéitez M.J., Lizana M. (2007) Effects of ammonium nitrate exposure and water acidification on the dwarf newt: the protective effect of oviposition behaviour on embryonic survival. Aquatic Toxicology 85, 251-257. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2007.09.008
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Sparling D.W. (2007) Alteration of larval development and metamorphosis by nitrate and perchlorate in Southern leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala). Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53, 639-646. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-006-0277-y
  • Sparling D.W., Krest S., Ortiz-Santaliestra M. (2006) Effects of lead-contaminated sediment on Rana sphenocephala tadpoles. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 51, 458-466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-005-0243-0
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A., Fernández M.J., Lizana M. (2006) Influence of developmental stage on sensitivity to ammonium nitrate of aquatic stages of amphibians. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25, 105-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1897/05-023R.1
  • Ortiz-Santaliestra M.E., Marco A., Lizana M. (2005) Sensitivity and behavior of the Iberian newt, Triturus boscai, under terrestrial exposure to ammonium nitrate. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 75, 662-669. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00128-005-0803-z
  • Ortiz M.E., Marco A., Saiz N.I., Lizana M. (2004) Impact of ammonium nitrate on growth and survival of six European amphibians. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 47, 234-239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-004-2296-x