Published in 16/12/2016
Functional Biodiversity (FB) RG is organized into 4 Research Labs: i) Functional Responses to Emerging Chemicals (FREC); ii) Biodiversity and Biomonitoring (BioBi); iii) Biochemistry and Physiology Laboratory (BcP); and iv) Conservation of Marine Vertebrates (CMV).FREC Lab - FREC LAb is mainly focused on generating knew knowledge on the impacts of environmental perturbations (either occurring naturally or caused by anthropogenic activities) in the biological processes, functions and characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem. This involves the use of organisms from different functional and trophic groups within a biomarker-based quantification and field based in situ approaches. Concomitantly, it is also aimed to develop tools to: (i) promote ecological relevancy in risk assessment and management processes, and, (ii) be applied in EU legislation (e.g. REACH, Water framework Directive). A multidisciplinary team of researchers constitutes FREC lab, with expertise in: ecological risk assessment, evolutionary ecotoxicology, biomonitoring, bioremediation, environmental education. The FREC Lab is coordinated by Amadeu Soares.BioB Lab - The BioB Lab is focused on terrestrial ecosystems (agro-ecosystems and forestry) and aquatic ecosystems (freshwater and marine). The BioB Lab research team has background experience on wetlands ecology, analytical & environmental chemistry, biodiversity & entomology, botany & taxonomy, limnology and marine ecology. The research topics include environmental health, biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services, following a multidisciplinary approach in a science-policy-stakeholders perspective, and in collaboration with other National and International research teams. The BioB Lab is coordinated by Ana Lillebø.BcP Lab - Organisms have evolved unique strategies to cope with environmental challenges that affect their growth and survival. These range from morphological and physiological changes to biochemical alterations at the cellular level. The BcP Lab uses distinct species, including bacteria, freshwater microalgae, marine invertebrates and vertebrates (fish), to investigate how organisms respond to environmental stresses at different biological organization levels. The effects of these constraints are assessed using ecological (e.g. symbiosis, competition), physiological (larval development, respiration and clearance rates, regenerative capacity), biochemical (e.g. oxidative stress markers), and metabolomic (e.g. volatile metabolites) approaches in organisms exposed to single and combined exposures. In particular, we focuse on the effect of metals, contaminants of emerging concern (e.g., nanoparticles, pharmaceuticals, microplastics), phytocompounds and environmental factors related to climate changes (drought, salinity, temperature, pH) on organisms. These approaches may clarify the potential effects of different challenges on organisms as well as the mechanisms organisms may resort to tolerate the environmental conditions prevailing in a near future. The BcP Lab is coordinated by Etelvina Figueira.CMV Lab - The CMV Lab is focused on understanding the impacts of human activities on cetaceans, seabirds and marine turtles mainly in Continental Portugal and on shorebirds (or waders) across the East Atlantic Flyway. To detect changes in marine animal parameters it is essential to establish baseline data from which change can be evaluated. The improvement of the stranding network, shorebird monitoring schemes, the Marine Animal Tissue Bank and the rehabilitation facilities at ECOMARE, allow for a in depth analysis of the human-marine animal interface. Emerging diseases related to anthropogenic sources, are being increasingly recorded in marine animals. As a whole, long-term research on these top predators produces data on prey abundance, habitat quality, disease/parasite prevalence, pollutants or other contemporary ecosystem threats such as marine biotoxins and litter. Currently, one of the major concerns of the CMV lab is the relation of pathologies and contaminants of concern in the marine environment and the need for new monitoring and assessment strategies, such as the use of molecular biomarkers. As one of the most important aspects of assessing marine megafauna populations, the CMV Lab monitors abundance and distribution of several cetacean, seabird and shorebird species through different census and modeling methodologies. Several sea turtle parameters are being monitored by strandings and loggerhead turtle displacements are being monitored with satellite tracking. Migratory shorebirds and their connectivity between breeding locations in the artic and non-breading areas in the temperate and tropical zones are being tracked with geolocators, PTT and GPS/GSM devices. As a whole, these data contributes to several European directives’ reporting requirements, allowing for cooperation between academic and resource management institutions, as well as other "Ocean Users". The CMV Lab monitoring programs allow for adaptive management by contributing to mitigating the impacts of relevant economic activities such as fishing, energy and resource exploitation. Collaborative work with fisheries aiming at the development and application of adaptive measures to reduce bycatch is on-going. The CMV Lab is coordinated by Catarina Eira.