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Research Team

Benthic Ecology and Environmental Solutions

The Benthic Ecology and Environmental Solutions team is dedicated to the study of benthic communities and their interactions on aquatic ecosystems, from the extensive seabed, including transitional systems, to other aquatic realms

We also focus on fomenting Nature-Based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, ensuring ecosystem sustainability and their services provision. Our research objectives include:
• Uncovering biodiversity patterns in aquatic benthic communities and analysing how they change over time and space, including the scale-dependent nature of these changes. This way, we aim to understand the underlying ecological drivers that impact biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems.
• Investigating the effects of global and local stressors on aquatic ecosystems, including their synergistic or non-synergistic interactions, by examining assemblages’ structural and functional changes. Along with new environmental conditions, different responses are expected depending on species tolerances and interactions. Such new diversity scenarios can substantially modify ecosystem-level aggregate functions such as energy fluxes or stability. Impacts from multiple interacting stressors cannot be predicted from knowledge of single stressors effects, which could underestimate forecasts.
• Developing tools to predict diversity scenarios and ecosystem responses to multiple and synergetic stressors like climate change, biological invasions and emergent contaminants exposure. We aim to integrate information from experimental studies on direct functional responses and vulnerability to environmental drivers and/or anthropogenic factors into different modeling approaches to improve forecasts on habitat/species vulnerability to inform aquatic systems conservation and management.
• Identify and apply environmental solutions that rely on the value of Nature, protecting and promoting natural resources for a sustainable future. We aim to explore different approaches for conservation and restoration, such as preserving habitat-forming species, constructing wetlands, creating green roofs, and other innovative solutions.

Principal Investigator

Team Leader

Proactive marine ecologist with more than 25 years of experience in the research coastal ecosystems. My research primarily involves experimental ecology and modeling tools to understand and predict the effects of global changes on coastal populations and ecosystems, from both structural and functional perspectives.
Keywords:
Marine Ecology, Coastal ecosystems, Climate change, Biodiversity, Ecosystem functioning, Marine Forests, Biological invasions, Phycology.
Head of the Benthic Ecology Team at CIIMAR since 2020.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Co-Principal Investigator
Researcher

I am an Assistant Researcher at CIIMAR-UP, where I study the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, considering natural, anthropogenic and climate change. My primary focus has been on benthic communities, including plants, invertebrates and fish, to understand the implications of altered diversity on ecosystem functioning. I am particularly interested in using this knowledge to contribute to decision-support frameworks for environmental management.
Currently, my research is directed towards exploring the importance of habitat-forming species as Nature-Based Solutions in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Additionally, I am actively involved in Ocean Literacy initiatives.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Projects

A&BM

ACTNOW

AdaptAlentejo

ATLANTIDA

BLUEFORESTING

Causalities between diversity, ecosystem functions and services in marine ecosystems

COAST

FutureMARES

HIPERSea

LIFELINE

MININGIMPACT2

Ocean3R

OceanClass

OceanLog

OMARE

RemediGrass

SeaGrassRIAwild

SeeingShore

Team members

Research Technician

Ana Tavares holds a BsC in Biology and a MsC in Biological Aquatic Resources from University of Porto. She is currently working for the BLUEFORESTING project as a research technician, with a focus on population genetics of two algae species to characterize the patterns of genetic structure and diversity.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Grant

I am intending a european joined master degree marine environment and resources (MER). My master thesis focuses on the effects of climate change drivers on the productivity of rocky shore ecosystems. More specifically I want to understand the consequences of a weakening of upwelling on kelp ecophysiology and associated assemblage productivity. I would like to focus my future research on the implementation of restoration action of macroalgae forest in temperate coastal ecosystems.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

I hold a BSc in Biology (University of Porto, 2008), M.Sc. in Biogeography and Conservation in Arid Environments (CIBIO-UP, 2010), and the Ph.D. on Biodiversity Conservation in Arid Environments under Climate Change (University of Porto, 2016). My research interests are mostly related to Biodiversity Conservation and connected disciplines, particularly Ecological Niche Modelling. I am focused on optimizing techniques and approaches by combining methodologies, solving statistical and conceptual problems. As a researcher in the Benthic Ecology Team in CIIMAR, I am interested in developing hybrid ecological models to improve predictions of climate change impacts on intertidal ecosystems.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Elizandro Oliveira Silveira is a Biologist, PhD in Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation. He was coordinator of the courses, Environmental Technician and Chemistry Technician, at the Pereira Coruja State Institute of Education in Taquari/RS, Brazil. He was vice president of CONDEMA in Taquari. He is a writer and researcher with works published in the area of ​​Environmental Sanitation. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scientific Researcher at CIIMAR/UP in partnership with the Catholic University of Portugal and UFRGS/Brazil. He is a member of research groups focused on environmental sanitation and sustainable development, in collaboration with various entities, such as Companies, Municipalities, Universities and Schools. His work focuses on the development of nature-based solutions (NBS), he is dedicated to the application of phytotechnologies (such as phytoremediation, bioremediation), water treatment and valorization, circular economy, bioenergy generation, rural development and integrative productive practices, education for sustainability and environmental education.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

My research career has been largely focused on the fish aquaculture. My studies have paid special attention to issues related to nutritional conditions, assessing their potential effects on growth, health and stress of reared fish. In the last few years, I have executed projects related to Maritime Spatial Planning, small-scale fisheries and ecosystem services, thus achieving a 360º view on the marine sciences.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Grant

Harold Cantallo is a technician in the Benthic Ecology Team at COAST Project. He finished his bachelor’s in Aquatic Sciences in 2019 at ICBAS-UP and his master’s in Applied Marine Biology in 2021 at Universidade de Aveiro. His main research interest is macroinvertebrate taxonomy and climate change. Which includes evaluating the diversity of invertebrates associated with intertidal and subtidal benthic habitats. Alternatively on how climate change impacts these species and their interactions, with a particular interest in marine gastropods. In the COAST project classifies marine habitats around the island of Santo Antão and aims to assess their vulnerability.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Technician
Hugo Sainz Meyer is a graduate in Marine Sciences and is currently doing a master's degree in Remote Sensing at FCUP.
He is working at CIIMAR in the OMARE (Observatorio Marinho da Biodiversidade Esposende) project with a research grant.
His is interested in understanding ecological relationships in marine habitats.
RESEARCH TEAMS:
PhD student
Human Resources

I hold a BSc in Biology (Santa Ursula University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016) and the M.Sc. in Biological Aquatic Resources (University of Porto and CIIMAR, 2019). As a PhD student in biology, I study the impacts of tropicalization on habitat-forming seaweeds, as they are organisms of extreme importance for the development of biodiversity and are undergoing drastic changes with climate change. I’m part of the Benthic Ecology Team. My main interest is to understand marine ecological relationships within a climate change scenario and produce data that can help in the management and protection of these communities. As a scientific diver and diving instructor, I also work diving doing experiments in situ.

PhD Student

As a PhD student in biology I focus marine species physiological responses to thermal stress. By conducting trials that evaluate how the marine heat waves could affect intertidal communities, I try to detect different resilience between populations of the same species to cope with this events. With a degree electrotechnical and computer engineering, I develop tools that allow long term experiments with tides, water and atmosphere temperature control. My goal is to perform experiments that could help predict and macro-ecological consequences of local adaptation to climate change.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Cristina Calheiros is Environmental Engineer and holds a PhD in Biotechnology. She is researcher at CIIMAR, coordinator of CMIA Vila do Conde, Professor at University of Saint Joseph-Macau SAR/China and University of Porto, and European Climate Pact Ambassador. She is vice-president of ANCV-Portuguese National Association of Green Roofs and board member of APRH-Portuguese Association for Water Resources (north region). Her work focuses on the development of nature-based solutions towards sustainability of territories and as tools for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and promotion of ecosystem services. Also dedicates to management and valorization of water and solid waste, based on circular economy approach though phytotechnologies, phytoremediation, environmental education, integrative productive practices, tourism and rural development.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

I am an Assistant Researcher at CIIMAR-UP, where I study the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, considering natural, anthropogenic and climate change. My primary focus has been on benthic communities, including plants, invertebrates and fish, to understand the implications of altered diversity on ecosystem functioning. I am particularly interested in using this knowledge to contribute to decision-support frameworks for environmental management.
Currently, my research is directed towards exploring the importance of habitat-forming species as Nature-Based Solutions in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Additionally, I am actively involved in Ocean Literacy initiatives.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Grant

Marta Martins has an academic background in Marine Biology (Universidade do Algarve, 2013) and Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (Universidade do Algarve, 2015). She started working at CIIMAR in 2018 as a post-grad student and is currently a PhD student in BET group. Her main reseach interests include intertidal and shallow subtidal ecology, mainly macroalgae, how climate change will impact this environments and what we can do to help their conservation.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Martina Ilarri graduated in Biology in 2005 (UFF, Brazil), had her Master’s degree in 2008 (UFPB, Brazil) and PhD in 2012 from the Doctoral School in Marine and Environmental Science (University of Porto, Portugal). She is currently a Researcher at CIIMAR-UP, working on aquatic ecological studies. Her main research interests focus on studying the changes (taxonomical and functional diversity) associated with the introduction of invasive aquatic species at different ecological levels (populations, communities and ecosystems). In addition, she focuses on understanding changes in the functioning of aquatic communities due to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Martinho Marta Almeida has a background in Atmospheric Physics and has been working with ocean and atmospheric modelling for more that two decades. His work is mainly focused on coastal and estuarine systems, river plumes, renewable energy, ocean and atmospheric climate, ocean BGQ, physical-biological interactions, ocean forecasting and tropical oceanography.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Grant

Óscar Babé Gómez obtained his degree in Marine Science from the University of Vigo in 2016. He is currently holding a research grant at CIIMAR and he is part of the Benthic Ecology Team. His main research interests focus on marine ecology and climate change. He is also a diver.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Patrícia Cardoso graduated in Biology in 1998 and concluded her PhD in 2005 in estuarine ecology. She specialized in long-term studies on benthic communities in response to multiple stressors; biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Since 2015, as Senior Researcher at CIIMAR her main scientific interests are the study of the combined effects of climate change and emergent contaminants (e.g. steroid hormones, PFAS) on the structure and functioning of coastal ecosystems. She is the author of more than 65 publications in international peer-review journals (h index = 29, > 3400 citations) and is author/co-author of 7 book chapters.

She is Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Toxics (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/toxics): “Toxic Effects of Persistent Endocrine Disrupters in Coastal Ecosystems”.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
PhD Student

With a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology and Evolution, Sofía Hernández finished her Master's degree from the University of Montpellier (France) in 2020 with a speciality in Marine Biology, Conservation and Aquaculture.

Over the course of her Master's studies, she was affiliated twice with CIIMAR: first, at the LANUCE laboratory (http://lanuce.ciimar.up.pt/projects) under the supervision of prof. Luisa Valente, working on fish meal optimisation under the context of Circular economy; and then with the ECOBIOTEC laboratory, under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Ramos and Prof. Claire Beatrix Paris from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in Miami (https://physical-biological-interactions.earth.miami.edu/index.html), studying larval population connectivity in the Iberian Peninsula.
With an ambivalent profile between Aquaculture and Marine Ecology, her expertise ranges from shark tagging (at the Movement Ecology research team at BIOPOLIS-CIBIO) to marine biodiversity evaluation (Coastal Biodiversity Laboratory – CIIMAR), while covering aquariology (Planet Ocean Montpellier) and coastal bio-remediation (BlueForesting & FutureMARES EU projects).

Currently, she’s a PhD student at the Benthic Ecology Laboratory, under the supervision of Dr. Francisco Arenas (CIIMAR) and Dr. Fernando Lima (BIOPOLIS-CIBIO). Here, her work focuses on assessing the vulnerability and potential adaptive capacity of marine forest habitats (e.g. kelp forests) to extreme thermal events (i.e. Marine Heatwaves).

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Research Grant

Teófilo is a fellow researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR). He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Sciences in 2015 at the University of Porto, followed by a Master’s degree in Marine Biology in 2017 at the University of Algarve, during which he developed a strong interest in the areas of ecology, evolution and conservation biology. These would soon become his main research scope with recent work focusing on evolutionary genetics and invasion genetics. His current position integrates the LIFELINE project, which intends to aid the understanding of trends in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services over time.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
PhD student
Human Resources

Vânia Amorim graduated in Biology at University of Coimbra in 2015 and received his master degree in Biology and Water Quality Management in 2019 at University of Porto.
Since 2022 she is a FCT student and her area of study is biological sciences with focus on climate change and toxicology and its effects on aquatic organisms. In her project, she studies the levels of these compounds in wastewater and rivers and their effects on different trophic levels.

Main publications

Rapid tropicalization evidence of subtidal seaweed assemblages along a coastal transitional zone.

J. de Azevedo, J.N. Franco, C.G. Vale, M.F.L. Lemos, F. Arenas.

2023Scientific Reports , 13 (1), 11720.
Understanding the local drivers of beta‐diversity patterns under climate change: The case of seaweed communities in Galicia, North West of the Iberian Peninsula.

C.G. Vale, F. Arenas, R. Barreiro, C. Piñeiro‐Corbeira.

2021Diversity and Distributions, 27 (9), 1696-1705.
Influence of climate change and extreme weather events on an estuarine fish community.

M. Ilarri, A.T. Souza, E. Dias, C. Antunes.

2022Science of The Total Environment, 827, 154190.
Current challenges and future perspectives for the full circular economy of water in European countries.

D.Y. Koseoglu-Imer, H.V. Oral, C.S.C. Calheiros, P. Krzeminski, S. Güçlü, S. A. Almeida, J. Surmacz-Górska, E. Plaza, P. Samaras, P. M. Binder, E.D. van Hullebusch, A. Devolli.

2023Journal of Environmental Management, 345, 118627.
Characterisation and Dynamics of an Emerging Seagrass Meadow.

M. Dolbeth, D.A. Costa, M. Meyer, J.A. Gonçalves, A. Bio.

2023Remote Sensing, 15 (16), 4086.
Benthic estuarine communities' contribution to bioturbation under the experimental effect of marine heatwaves.

M. Dolbeth, O. Babe, D.A. Costa, A.P. Mucha, P.G. Cardoso, F. Arenas.

2021Scientific Reports, 11 (1), 11422.