De Stefano, Lucia

Profile Picture
First Name
Last Name
De Stefano
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Geológicas
Geodinámica, Estratigrafía y Paleontología
Geodinámica Externa
UCM identifierORCIDScopus Author IDDialnet IDGoogle Scholar ID

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    A machine learning model to assess the ecosystem response to water policy measures in the Tagus River Basin (Spain)
    (Elsevier, 2021-01) Valerio, Carlotta; De Stefano, Lucia; Martínez Muñoz, Gonzalo; Garrido, Alberto
    Anthropogenic activities are seriously endangering the conservation of biodiversity worldwide, calling for urgent actions to mitigate their impact on ecosystems. We applied machine learning techniques to predict the response of freshwater ecosystems to multiple anthropogenic pressures, with the goal of informing the definition of water policy targets and management measures to recover and protect aquatic biodiversity. Random Forest and Gradient Boosted Regression Trees algorithms were used for the modelling of the biological indices of macroinvertebrates and diatoms in the Tagus river basin (Spain). Among the anthropogenic stressors considered as explanatory variables, the categories of land cover in the upstream catchment area and the nutrient concentrations showed the highest impact on biological communities. The model was then used to predict the biological response to different nutrient concentrations in river water, with the goal of exploring the effect of different regulatory thresholds on the ecosystem status. Specifically, we considered the maximum nutrient concentrations set by the Spanish legislation, as well as by the legislation of other European Union Member States. According to our model, the current nutrient thresholds in Spain ensure values of biological indices consistent with the good ecological status in only about 60% of the total number of water bodies. By applying more restrictive nutrient concentrations, the number of water bodies with biological indices in good status could increase by almost 40%. Moreover, coupling more restrictive nutrient thresholds with measures that improve the riparian habitat yields up to 85% of water bodies with biological indices in good status, thus proving to be a key approach to restore the status of the ecosystem.
  • Publication
    Shedding light on the decline of Iberian freshwater fish species over the period 1980–2020
    (Wiley, 2022-08-09) Valerio, Carlotta; Baquero, Rocío A.; Gómez Nicola, Graciela; Garrido, Alberto; De Stefano, Lucia
    Freshwater fish biodiversity is experiencing an alarming decline worldwide. Understanding the main factors behind its deterioration is a key step for ecosystem restoration. In this work, large-scale and long-term data were used to identify the causes of the decline of native species richness in Castilla-La Mancha. This region in central Spain covers part of six river basins belonging to four of the 11 biogeographical provinces for freshwater fish in the Iberian Peninsula. Firstly, we built a dataset that associates the presence of several fish species and a wide range of environmental variables (e.g. hydrological and hydromorphological indicators, land use classes, presence of alien fish species) at selected river sites for two different time periods (1980–2000 and 2001–2020). Secondly, we conducted an exploratory data analysis to identify possible temporal trends in the dataset. Finally, we applied the random forest algorithm to predict the response of different ecological guild-based metrics of fish richness to the selected variables. The exploratory data analysis revealed a decrease in native fish species richness in 74% of the area studied. There was no sustained temporal trend for stressor variables, except for the number of alien species, which increased in most river sites (63%). The models of the richness of native rheophilic, native intolerant, alien rheophilic, and alien limnophilic species performed satisfactorily. Magnitude of maximum discharge, presence of alien species, land use in the catchment area and altitude were the most important predictors of richness of native intolerant and rheophilic species. Alien limnophilic species proved to be sensitive to variables related to flow regime alteration, such as the presence of dams and the number of river flow reversals, while a less degraded habitat was found to be favourable to alien rheophilic species. The results suggest that the cumulative effect of persistent altered flow regimes and water pollution, coupled with a strong increase in the number of alien species, have led to the decline of native species in the area studied. The restoration of near-natural magnitudes of high flows when implementing environmental flows emerged as a key measure to restore ecosystem integrity. Starting from a long-term and large-scale dataset, this study provides new, quantitative insights into stressor–ecosystem relationships in rivers and could inform future environmental policy initiatives because it has identified the main factors leading to native fish decline and alien fish proliferation. Our findings emphasise the importance of considering metrics based on fish assemblage composition and ecological functional groups in order to disentangle the effects of stressors on fish communities.
  • Publication
    A comparative analysis of the application of water quality exemptions in the European Union: The case of nitrogen
    (Elsevier, 2020-10-15) Bolinches Quero, Antonio; Paredes-Arquiola, Javier; Garrido, Alberto; De Stefano, Lucia
    Freshwater ecosystems and water uses may be jeopardized by the degradation of water quality. The Water Framework Directive of the European Union (EU) sets environmental objectives for water bodies but foresees the establishment of exemptions under some circumstances. The criteria used to justify these exemptions, however, are not fully developed, leaving their application open to some arbitrariness. Our study explores the relations between the magnitude of pressures affecting continental surface water bodies and the declared exemptions on the permitted concentration of nitrogen. It identifies different approaches to declare exemptions to nitrogen environmental objectives across six EU Member States and discusses the underlying criteria. A better understanding of the pressures-impact-measures/exemptions relation helps compare water policy decisions across different regions subject to the same legal obligations and set priorities for mitigation measures.
  • Publication
    Multi-objective optimal design of interbasin water transfers: The Tagus-Segura aqueduct (Spain)
    (Elsevier, 2023-04) Valerio, Carlotta; Giuliani, Matteo; Castelletti, Andrea; Garrido, Alberto; De Stefano, Lucia
    Study region The Tagus-Segura aqueduct (TSA) is a large and strategic water transfer scheme in Spain that connects Entrepeñas and Buendía reservoirs in the Tagus river headwaters to the Segura river basin, a highly stressed Mediterranean area. Study focus The operating rules of the TSA underwent several modifications over the years, and the debate about which are the optimal parameters to meet the interests of the parties involved is still open. We employed Evolutionary Multi-Objective Direct Policy Search to jointly optimize the re-operation of the headwaters dams and the water transfer policy with respect to four conflicting objectives: Tagus and Segura water demands, hydropower production and socioeconomic benefit of the population living on the shores of the headwaters reservoirs. We tested the optimization under the baseline and the 2027 scenario, which foresees an increased environmental flow (EF) in the Tagus river. New hydrological insights for the region The proposed operating rule presents optimized control parameters, a higher degree of freedom and a transferred volume that cyclically varies according to the hydrological stage of the year. In the 2027 scenario, despite the increased EF, the deficit in the aqueduct shows a limited increase compared to the historical solution (+10%), while the storage deficit is strongly reduced (−73%). This benefits the population living on the reservoirs shores and also ensures more stability to the aqueduct functioning.