–  Principal Investigator :

Mauricio Lima

– Associate Researchers: 

Sergio Estay

Rodrigo Wiff

Juan Pablo Luna

Cesar González
Eugenia Gayo
Ariel Farías

– Postdoctoral associates: 

– Professionals and technicians:

Rosana Ferrero

Carla Rivera

Vanessa Weinberger

– Graduate students




We  combine conceptual and methodological tools of population dynamics to predict and explain changes in  socio- ecological systems. We believe that the theory of population dynamics have tools capables of facing the interface of the economic – social -ecological problems. We will apply the general ecological theory to explain the causes of the dynamic changes in specific ecological and human systems. Moreover, in this line of research is expected to produce scientific and basic transfer predictions and management strategies for public and private institutions dealing with fisheries management, pest control, food production and human health.


Produce basic and applied science to collaborate with public institutions that face the complex interaction between natural resources (fishing/yields); human systems (human diseases: demographics/economics) and common responses to global change.

Actual research lines:

Fisheries management

Dynamics yields

Agricultural pest control

Infectious diseases

Human population dynamics

Projections and Challenges:

The relatively modern science of economics, human demography and population dynamics began in 1798 with the publication of Malthus. Its basic principle was the idea that population grows geometrically while resources expand only arithmetically. As a result, forecasts for population growth largely ignore economic and ecological forces. Similarly, economists focus on understanding the relationship between population, economic growth and technological change while neglecting the role of natural resources. In this research, we will use conceptual elements derived from ecological theory in combination with human demography and economics to analyze, understand and predict the mutual feedback between demographic changes and socio-economic in human societies who face the challenge of global change and sustainability.



1) Aranis A, Muñoz G, Quiroz JC, Wiff R, Gómez A & MA Barrientos (2014).  Identificación de rasgos morfológicos para una rápida diferenciación de sardina austral (Sprattus fuegensis) y sardina común (Strangomera bentincki).  Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research 42(5): 1063-1071. DOI: 10.3856/vol42-issue5-fulltext-11. PDF: Aranis_et_al_lajar_2014

2) Sepúlveda MA, Singer RS, Silva-Rodríguez EA, Eguren A, Stowhas P, Pelican K (2014) Invasive American mink: linking pathogen risk between domestic and endangered carnivores. Ecohealth 11(3):409-19. doi: 10.1007/s10393-014-0917-z. PDF: Sepulveda et al. 2014

3) Estay SA, M Lima& F Bozinovic (2014) The role of temperature variability on insect performance and population dynamics in a  warming world. Oikos 123:131-140. PDF: Estay et al (2014) Oikos Thermal Variability_2014

4) Estay SA, Labra FA, Sepulveda RD, Bacigalupe LD (2014) Evaluating Habitat Suitability for the Establishment of Monochamus spp. through Climate-Based Niche Modeling. PLoS ONE 9(7): e102592. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102592. PDF: Estay et al. 2014PlosOne

5) Ferrero R, Lima M & Gonzalez-Andujar JL (2014) Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Maize Yield Water Constraints under Climate Change in Spain. PLoS ONE 9(5): e98220. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098220. PDF: Ferrero et al. 2014

6) García de León D, Freckleton RP, Lima M, Navarrete L, Castellanos E & González-Andújar JL(2014) Identifying the effect of density dependence, agricultural practices and climate variables on the long-term dynamics of weed populations. Weed Research 54: 556–564. PDF: García de León et al. 2014

7) Lima M (2014) Climate change and the population collapse during the “Great Famine” in pre-industrial Europe. Ecology and Evolution 4(3):284–291. PDF: Lima 2014


1) Aguilera SE, Cole J, Finkbeiner EM, Le Cornu E, Ban NC, et al. (2015) Managing Small-Scale Commercial Fisheries for Adaptive Capacity: Insights from Dynamic Social-Ecological Drivers of Change in Monterey Bay. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118992. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118992. PDF: Aguilera_etal_2015

2) Canales TM, Law R, Wiff R & JL Blanchard (2014) Changes in the size-structure of a multispecies pelagic fishery off Northern Chile. Fisheries Research 161 (2015) 261–268. PDF: Canales_et_al_2015

3) Flores A, Wiff R & E Díaz (2015) Using the gonadosomatic index to estimate the maturity ogive: application to Chilean hake (Merluccius gayi gayi). ICES Journal of Marine Science. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu155. PDF: Flores_et_al_2015

4) Flores A, Wiff R, Díaz E & Gálvez P (2015) Reproductive biology of female cardinalfish,Epigonus crassicaudus de Buen, 1959. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 31: 718–723.  García de León D, García-Mozo H, Galán C, Alcázar P, Lima M & González-Andújar JL (2015) Disentangling the effects of feedback structure and climate on Poaceae annual airborne pollen fluctuations and the possible consequences of climate change. Sci Total Environ.530-531:103-9. PDF

5) Januario SM, Estay SA, Labra FA & Lima M (2015) Combining environmental suitability and population abundances to evaluate the invasive potential of the tunicate Ciona intestinalis along the temperate South American coast. PeerJ 3:e1357 PDF

6) Lima M, Estay SA, Fuentes R, Rubilar P, Broutin H & Chowell-Puente G (2015) Whooping cough dynamics in Chile (1932-2010): disease temporal fluctuations across a north-south gradient. BMC Infect Dis. 15:590. PDF

7) Lima M & Abades S (2015) Malthusian factors as proximal drivers of human population crisis at Sub-Saharan Africa. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3: 130. PDF

8) Sepúlveda M, Pelican K, Cross P, Eguren A,Singer R(2015) Fine-scale movements of rural free-ranging dogs in conservation areas in the temperate rainforest of the coastal range of southern Chile, Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 80(4):290-297. doi: 10.1016/j.mambio.2015.03.001. PDF: Sepulveda et al. 2015

9) Sepúlveda MA, Seguel M, Alvarado-Rybak M, Verdugo C, Muñoz-Zanzi C & Tamayo R (2015) Postmortem Findings in Four South American Sea Lions (Otaria byronia) from an Urban Colony in Valdivia, Chile. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51(1): 279-282. PDF: Sepulveda et al. 2015b

10) Silva CP, García CE, Estay SA, Barbosa O (2015) Bird Richness and Abundance in Response to Urban Form in a Latin American City: Valdivia, Chile as a Case Study. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0138120. PDF

11) Wiff R, Roa-Ureta RH, Borchers DL, Milessi AC & Barrientos MA (2015) Estimating Consumption to Biomass Ratio in Non-Stationary Harvested Fish Populations. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141538. PDF

12) Wiff R, Barrientos MA, Milessi AC, Quiroz JCC & J Harwood (2015) Modelling production per unit of food consumed in fish populations. Journal of Theoretical Biology 365 (2015) 67–75. PDF: Wiff_et_al_2014


1) Boher F, Trefault N, Estay SA & Bozinovic F (2016) Ectotherms in Variable Thermal Landscapes: A Physiological Evaluation of the Invasive  Potential of Fruit Flies Species. Frontiers in Physiology 7:302. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00302 PDF

2) Canales TM, Law R & Blanchard JL (2016) Shifts in plankton size spectra modulate growth and coexistence of anchovy and sardine in upwelling systems. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 73:611-621. PDF

3) Contreras-Reyes JE, Canales TM & Rojas PM (2016) Influence of climate variability on anchovy reproductive timing off northern Chile. Journal of Marine Systems. 164: 67-75. PDF

4) Espíndola F, Quiroz JC, Wiff R & Yañez E (2016) Incorporating sea surface temperature into the stock-recruitment relationship: Applications to Jack Mackerel (trachurus murphyi) off Chile. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 51(1):137-145. PDF

5) Godoy N, Gelcich S, Castilla JC, Lima M & Smith A (2016) Artisanal spearfishery in temperate nearshore ecosystems of Chile: Exploring the catch composition, revenue, and management needs. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 8(1): 436-447. PDF

6) Jaureguizar AJ, Wiff R & Luz Clara M (2016) Role of the preferred habitat availability for small shark (Mustelus schmitti) on the interannual variation of abundance in a large Southwest Atlantic Coastal System (El Rincón, 39°–41°S). Aquatic Living Resources 29 (3): 305. DOI: PDF

7) Labra FA, Moreno RA, Alvarado SA, Carrasco F, Estay SA & Rivadeneira MM (2016) The relative role of ecological interactions and environmental variables on the population dynamics of marine benthic polychaetes. Marine Biodiversity (2016): 1-10. DOI 10.1007/s12526-016-0569-z. PDF

8) Lima M, Christie DA, Santoro MC, Latorre C (2016) Coupled socio-environmental changes triggered indigenous aymara depopulation of the semiarid Andes of Tarapacá-Chile during the late 19th-20th centuries. Plos One 11(8): e0160580. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160580. PDF

9) Montero JT, Chesney TA, Bauer JR, Froeschke JT & Graham J (2016), Brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus) density distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: an approach using boosted regression trees. Fisheries Oceanography 25: 337–348. PDF

10) Montero JT, Martinez-Rincon RO, Heppell SS, Hall M & M Ewal  (2016) Characterizing environmental and spatial variables associated with the incidental catch of olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the Eastern Tropical Pacific purse-seine fishery. Fisheries Oceanography, 25: 1–14. doi: 10.1111/fog.12130 PDF: Montero et al. 2016

11) Naulin PI, Valenzuela G & Estay SA (2017) Size matters: point pattern analysis biases the estimation of spatial properties of stomata distribution. New Phytologist 213: 1956–1960. doi: 10.1111/nph.14305. PDF

12) Pavez-Fox M & Estay SA (2016) Correspondence between the habitat of the threatened pudú (Cervidae) and the national protected-area system of Chile. BMC Ecol.16:1. PDF


1) Ferrero R, Lima M, Davis AS & Gonzalez-Andujar JL (2017) Weed Diversity Affects Soybean and Maize Yield in a Long Term Experiment in Michigan, USA. Front. Plant Sci. 8:236. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00236. PDF

2) López Quintero FO, Contreras-Reyes JE, Wiff R & Arellano-Valle RB (2017) Flexible Bayesian analysis of the von Bertalanffy growth function with the use of a log-skew-t distribution. Fisheries Bulletin 115(1):13–26 (2017). doi: 10.7755/FB.115.1.2. PDF

3) López Quintero FO, Contreras-Reyes JE & Wiff R (2017) Incorporating uncertainty into a length-based estimator of natural mortality in fish populations. Fisheries Bulletin 115:355–364. doi: 10.7755/FB.115.3.6. PDF

4) Wiff R, Barrientos MA, Segura AM & Milessi AC (2017). The invariance of production per unit of food consumed in fish populations. Theory Biosci. doi: 10.1007/s12064-017-0241-6. PDF