Principal Investigator:
Elsa Froufe

Aquatic Ecology and Evolution Research Group (AEE) focus on integrative cross-discipline approaches related to the different levels of organization of aquatic biodiversity: from genome over organism, to populations, communities and ecosystems across biogeographical regions. AEE group aims to unravel the patterns and processes driving diversity in aquatic systems and to understand the potential threats that anthropogenic stressors pose to gene to ecosystem diversity. 

The specific research lines are as follows: Understanding how marine and estuarine populations and assemblages respond to changes in environmental variables (e.g. climate change) in combination with other concurrent stressors (e.g. eutrophication), by means of experimental tests of hypotheses on model systems both in the field and the laboratory; Integrating molecular methodologies with taxonomy to the identification of cryptic taxa and intraspecific variations, e.g. polymorphic males and ontogenetic changes; Use freshwater bivalves as conservational targets for exploring new multidisciplinary integrated approaches; Suggesting conservation priorities and management tools of taxa and habitat protection (including recovery) and contributing to the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM); Describing the biodiversity of marine invertebrates from shallow water to the deep sea using complementary taxonomy and molecular approaches; Disentangling the complexity of trophic interactions in estuaries using stable isotopes (C and N) signatures across the food web, and integrating information into ecological modelling; Improving the public awareness and knowledge of research on biodiversity and conservation and of the urgency of integrating the cross-discipline approaches used by AEE.

Publications Highlights

Froufe E., Prié V., Faria J., Ghamizi M., Gonçalves D.V., Gürlek M.E., Karaouzas I., Kebapçi Ü., Şereflişan H., Sobral C., Sousa R., Teixeira A., Varandas S., Zogaris S., Lopes-Lima M. (2016). Phylogeny, phylogeography, and evolution in the Mediterranean region: news from a freshwater mussel (Potomida, Unionida). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 100: 322-332.

Franco J.N., Tuya F., Bertocci I., Rodríguez L., Martínez B., Sousa-Pinto I., Arenas F. (2017). The ‘golden kelp’ Laminaria ochroleuca under global change: Integrating multiple eco-physiological responses with species distribution models. Journal of Ecology, 2017: 1–12.

Araújo R.M., Assis J., Aguillar R., Airoldi L., Bárbara I., Bartsch I., Fernandez C. (2016). Status, trends and drivers of kelp forests in Europe: an expert assessment. Biodiversity & Conservation, 25(7): 1319.

Matias M.G., Arenas F., Rubal M., Sousa-Pinto I. 2016. Macroalgal composition determines the structure of benthic assemblages colonizing fragmented habitats. PLoS ONE, 10(11): e0142289.

Lopes-Lima M, Fonseca M, Aldridge Dc, Bogan A, Gan Hm, Ghamizi M, Sousa R, Teixeira A, Varandas S, Zanatta D, Zieritz A, Froufe E (2017) The first Margaritiferidae male (M-type) mitogenome: Gene order as a potential character for determining higher-order phylogeny within Unionida, Bivalvia. Journal of Molluscan Studies 83 (2), 249-252.