Photo of Juan J. Cruz Motta, PhD, Professor: Laboratory of Experimental Ecology

Professor: Laboratory of Experimental Ecology
PhD – University of Sydney, Australia, 2005

Department of Marine Sciences
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
PO Box 9000
Mayagüez, PR 00681-9000

Tel. (787) 899-2048 ext. 228
Fax: (787) 899-5500
Email: juan.cruz13@upr.edu
Webpage: Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI)
Office: Magueyes Marine Laboratories

Download: Curriculum Vitae



My principal interest is the experimental analysis of ecological processes that affect and determine patterns of distribution of natural communities associated with marine and coastal ecosystems, particularly (but not limited to): rocky shores, seagrass beds and mangroves. In order to understand these processes, it is necessary to describe rigorously and quantitatively patterns of temporal and spatial distribution of these communities at the appropriate scales. This line of research has resulted, inevitably, in a great interest on problems associated with the logic behind experiments and sampling programs. Consequently, my areas of expertise are:

1. Experimental design and analysis of ecological/environmental data
2. Long term monitoring programs of coastal and marine communities at large spatial scales (Continental)
3. Investigation on the effects of environmental impacts related to human activities (in particular those related to the oil industry)
4. Relationship between monitoring programs and environmental management.

All of the above, with the ultimate objective to contribute to a better and more fluent relationship between ecological theory, experimental design and their applications to environmental management and administration.


CMOB 6635. Research Methods in Marine Sciences
CMOB 8715. Ecological Concepts in Marine Sciences
CMOG 8655. Marine Biogeography

Recent Publications

1 – Edlin J. Guerra-Castro; Jesús Eloy Conde; Juan J. Cruz-Motta. 2016. Scales of spatial variation in tropical benthic assemblages and their ecological relevance: epibionts on Caribbean mangrove roots as a model system.Marine Ecology Progress Series. In Press

2 – Ricardo González-Muñoz, Nuno Simões, Edlin J. Guerra-Castro, Carlos Hernández-Ortíz, Gabriela, Carrasquel, Enio Mendez, Carlos Lira, Martin Rada, Iván Hernández, Sheila M. Pauls, Aldo Croquer, Juan J. Cruz-Motta. 2016. Sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria, Corallimorpharia, Ceriantharia, Zoanthidea) from marine shallow-water environments in Venezuela: new records and an updated inventory. Marine Biodiversity Records. In press

3 – Guerra-Castro, E.; Cruz-Motta, J.J. 2014. Ecology of fouling assemblages associated with mangrove’s roots: an artificial substrate for manipulative experiments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 457: 31-40.

4 – Miloslavich, P.; Cruz-Motta, J.J.; Klein, E.; Iken, K.; Weinberger, V.; Konar, B.; Trott, T.; Pohle, G.; Bigatti, G, Benedetti-Cecchi, L.; Shirayama, Y.; Mead, A.; Palomo, G.; Ortiz, M.; Gobin, J., Sardi, A. Díaz, J.M.; Knowlton, A.; Wong, M.; Peralta, A. 2103. Large-Scale Spatial Distribution Patterns of Gastropod Assemblages in Rocky Shores. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071396

5 – M.M. Castillo; H. Morales; E. Valencia; J.J. Morales; Cruz Motta, JJ. 2013.The effects of human land use on flow regime and water chemistry of headwater streams in the highlands of Chiapas. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems. 407(09). DOI: 10.1051/kmae/2013035

6 – Tolhurst, T.J.; Chapman, M.G.; Underwood, A.J.; Cruz-Motta, J.J. 2012. The effects of five different defaunation methods on biogeochemical properties of intertidal sediment. Biogeosciences 9: 1377–1406

7 – Jones, D.O.; Cruz Motta, JJ; Bone, D.; Kaariainen, j.a. 2012. Effects of oil drilling activity on the deep water megabenthos of the Orinoco Fan, Venezuela”. Journal of the Marine Biologicval Association of the United Kingdom. 92 (02): 245 – 253.

8 – Guerra-Castro, E. Cruz-Motta, J.J., Conde, J.E. 2011. Cuantificación de la diversidad de especies incrustantes asociadas a las raíces de Rhizophora mangle L. en el Parque Nacional Laguna de la Restinga. InterCiencia 12(36): 923-930.

9 – Cavada, F.; Ayala, R.; Troccoli, L.; Cruz-Motta, J.J. 2011. Microalgae from the mucus layer of two massive corals: more than sunken plankton. Marine Biology. 158: 2495–2504.

10 – Gerhard Pohle; Katrin Iken; Robert Clarke; Thomas Trott; Brenda Konar; Cruz Motta, JJ; Melisa Wong; Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi; Angela Mead; Miloslavich, P.; Nova Mieszkowska; Rebecca Milne; Laura Tamburello; Ann Knowlton; Edward Kimani; Yoshihisa Shirayama. Aspects of Benthic Decapod Diversity and Distribution from Rocky Nearshore Habitat at Geographically Widely Dispersed Sites. PLOS ONE. 2011. Vol. 6, pp. 1 – 11.

11 – Camilo Mora; Octavio Aburto-Oropeza; Arturo Ayala Bocos; Paula M. Ayotte; Stuart Banks; Andrew G. Bauman; Maria Beger; Sandra Bessudo; David J. Booth; Eran Brokovich; Andrew Brooks; Pascale Chabanet; Joshua E. Cinner; Jorge Cortes; Cruz Motta, JJ; Amilcar Cupul; Edward E. DeMartini; Graham J. Edgar; David A. Feary; Sebastian C. A. Ferse; Alan M. Friedlander; Kevin J. Gaston; Charlotte Gough; Nicholas A. J. Graham; Alison Green; Hector Guzman; Marah Hardt; Michel Kulbicki; Yves Letourneur; Andres Lopez Perez; Michel Loreau; Yossi Loya; Camilo Martinez; Ismael Mascaren˜as-Osorio; Tau Morove; Marc-Olivier Nadon; Yohei Nakamura; Gustavo Paredes; Nicholas V. C. Polunin; Morgan S. Pratchett; Hector Reyes Bonilla; Fernando Rivera; Enric Sala; Stuart A. Sandin; German Soler; Rick Stuart- Smith; Emmanuel Tessier; Derek P. Tittensor; Mark Tupper; Paolo Usseglio; Laurent Vigliola; Laurent Wantiez; Ivor Williams; Shaun K. Wilson; Fernando A. Zapata. Global Human Footprint on the Linkage between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Reef Fishes”. PLOS BIOLOGY. 2011. Vol. 9, pp. 1 – 9.

12 – Cruz Motta, JJ; Miloslavich, P.; Palomo, G.; Iken, K.; Konar, B.; Pole, G.; Trott, T; Benedetti-Cecchi, L.; Herrera, C.; Hernández, A.; Sardi, A.; Bueno, A.; Castillo, J.; Klein, E; Guerra-Castro, E.; Gobin, J.; Gómez, D. I.; Riosmena-Rodríguez, R; Mead, A.; Bigatti, G.; Knowlton, A.; Shirayama, Y. 2010. Patterns of Spatial Variation of Assemblages Associated with Intertidal Rocky Shores: A Global Perspective”. PLOS ONE. Vol. 5, pp. 1 – 10.

13 – Konar, B.; Iken, K.; Cruz Motta, JJ; Benedetti-Cecchi, L.; Knowlton, A.; Pohle, G.; Miloslavich, P.; Edwards, M.; Trott, T.; Kimani, E.; Riosmena-Rodríguez, R.; Wong, M.; Jenkins, S.; Silva, A.; Sousa-Pinto, I.; Shirayama, Y. 2010. Current Patterns of Macroalgal Diversity and Biomass in Northern Hemisphere Rocky Shores. PLOS ONE. Vol. 5(11) doi/10.1371/journal., pp. 1 – 8.

14 – Iken, K.; Konar, B.; Benedetti-Cecchi, L.; Cruz Motta, JJ; Knowlton, A.; Pohle, G.; Mead, A.; Miloslavich, P.; Wong, M.; Trott, T.; Mieszkowska, N.; Riosmena-Rodriguez, R.; Arioldi, L.; Kimani, E.; Shirayama, Y.; Fraschetti, S.; Ortiz-Touzet, M.; Silva, A. 2010. Large-Scale Spatial Distribution Patterns of Echinoderms in Nearshore Rocky Habitats. PLOS ONE. 2010. Vol. 5(11), pp. 1 – 14.

15 – Miloslavich, P.; Díaz, J.M.; Klein, E; Alvarado, J.J.; Díaz, C.; Gobin, J.; Escobar-Briones, E.; Cruz Motta, JJ; Weil, E.; Cortés, J.; Bastidas, C.; Robertson, R.; Zapata, F.; Martín, A; Castillo, J.; Kazandjian, Aniuska; Ortiz, M.. 2010. Marine Biodiversity in the Caribbean: regional estimates and distribution patterns. PLOS ONE. 2010. Vol. 5 (8):e11916, pp. 1 – 25.

16 – Benedetti-Cecchi, L.; Iken, K.; Konar, B.; Cruz Motta, JJ; Knowlton, A.; Pohle, G.; Castelli, A.; Tamburello, L.; Mead, A.; Trott, T.; Miloslavich, P.; Wong, M.; Shirayama, Y.; Lardicci, C.; Palomo, G.; Maggi, E.. “Spatial Relationships between Polychaete Assemblages and Environmental Variables over Broad Geographical Scales”. PLOS ONE. Vol. 5(2) doi/10.1371/journal., pp. 1 – 10.

17 – E. M. García, C. Bastidas, J.J. Cruz-Motta and O. Farina. 2011. Metals in Waters and Sediments of the Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela: Increased Contamination Levels of Cadmium over Time. Water Air and Soil Pollution. 214:609-621.

18 – Rocha, R; Guerra Castro, E; Lira, C.; Pauls, S.; Hernández, I; Pérez, A.; Sardi, A; Pérez, J; Herrera, C; Carbonini, A.; Caraballo, V.; Salazar, D.; Díaz, M. C.; Cruz Motta, JJ. 2010. “Inventário de ascídias (Tunicata, Ascidiacea) do Parque Nacional La Restinga, Isla Margarita, Venezuela “. Biota Neotropica. 10(1): 15-24.

NOTE: The information on this page changes frequently, may be outdated and in need of revision. Please contact us for the most up to date information, cima@uprm.edu