|The PlantBIO research group embraces two major research areas
1- PLANT ECOLOGY AND POPULATION GENETICS
We investigate the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underpinning forest regeneration and demographic expansion in chronically managed forests. We aim to link detail records on dispersal mutualisms with the demographic expansion patterns and the genetic changes observed in the colonization front. By doing so, we gain empirical evidence on the relevance of key ecological services, such as seed dispersal by frugivores, in setting the spatial distribution of the genetic variation, that in turn determine the chances of plant populations to persist or collapse in response to drivers of global change. We combine long-term field data on fecundity and vegetative growth, aerial images, spatial-explicit evolutionary models and highly polymorphic molecular tools (SSR, SNPs) to:
We have active collaborations with in-house and foreign research groups in France, USA, and Spain. We frequently host PhD students from other groups who come to the group to be trained in molecular tools, network analysis, or in applying landscape genetics tools.
2- PLANT FUNCTIONAL BIOLOGY
We study the molecular basis of plant adaptation to abiotic stress including:
Our research uses the genetic model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, but also other plant species of interest: Pinus pinaster;Quercus suber, metal hyperaccumulator species Noccaea caerulescens and Alyssum pintodasilvae (Portuguese endemic).
We have collaborations with research groups at national level, in Universidade de Évora, Universidade de Braga, Universidade Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, ITQB-Universidade de Lisboa, and at international level, in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, USA and Spain.
The expertize of PLANTBIO research group includes genetic and omics-based strategies (e.g. transcriptomics by microarray/RNAseq).