HOME  »  Members  »  Collaborators  »  PhD Students/Fellows
  Cátia Santos  
  e-mail: catiasantos@ua.pt  
  Category: Joint PhD student  
  Department: Department of Biology  
  Research group: Functional Biodiversity
ISI Web of KnowledgeSM search factor: Author=(Santos CSA) AND Address=(Aveiro) ; ResearcherID: F-9296-2012  
  Direct URL for this page: http://www.cesam.ua.pt/catiasantos  
  Thesis title: Effects of parental resource acquisition and allocation strategies on offspring health in a migratory species: a field study
  Supervisor: Luc Lens (Main - Gent Univ.), Liesbeth de Neve (Co-Sup. Gent Univ.), Susana Loureiro (Main - Aveiro Univ.) and Marta Monteiro (Co-Sup. - Aveiro Univ.)
  Category: BO
  Grant type: BD
  Funding entity: Ghent University Special Research Fund
  Grant reference: B/13833/01 - BOF13/DOC/034
  Start date: 2013-12-01
  End date: 2017-11-30
Academic degrees

July 2012: Master in Applied Biology- Field of Ecology, Biodiversity and Ecossystems Management, by the University of Aveiro. Thesis: Biomonitorization of birds under recovery: a long term study. Course classification: 18 /20

July 2010: Degree in Biology, by the University of Aveiro. Course classification: 16 /20.


Advanced Courses and Workshops

Toxikinetics course. Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.13-14 of august, 2012.

Management and Conservation of Habitats and Associated Flora. Portuguese Society of Botany & ALPHA (Association of Phytosociology Lusitana), Agrarian School of Coimbra, Portugal. March 25, 2011

Topics on environmental mixture toxicity. Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, Portugal. 6-10 september 2010

Current work

Effects of parental resource acquisition and allocation strategies on offspring health in a migratory species: a field experiment

Key-words: Capital income breeding strategies, environmental contamination, offspring health, Larus fuscus.

Acquiring and allocating nutritional resources to survival and reproduction comprise key attributes of life-history variation of organisms, reason why understanding how and when organisms acquire critical resources during their annual cycle - and at what cost – forms a central theme in life-history studies. A main fitness cost associated with resource acquisition is exposure to environmental contaminants such as metals and persistent organic pollutants (e.g. DDT, organochloride pesticides and PCBs).

Exposure of free-ranging bird populations to environmental contamination has been shown to adversely modify physiology and fitness during different developmental stages, namely by imposing (sub) lethal stress in adults and embryos, reducing fertility and causing impaired chick development amongst others.

To better understand to what extent parental life-history strategies interact through the annual cycle and ultimately may relate to contaminant burdens and offspring fitness, we want to:

  • determine to what extent phenological variation among breeding females matches with individual resource allocation strategies along an income-capital breeding gradient;

  • understand how breeding strategy of parents may relate to contaminant burdens of eggs and hatchlings and how these correlate with offspring quality and health;

  • disentangle inverse effects of contaminant loads stored during different stages of the annual cycle to offspring quality and health, assess to what extent these relationships are mediated through pre-hatching maternal and/or post-hatching parental breeding strategies.

This research work will be conducted on a well-studied (long-term) population of lesser black backed gull (Larus fuscus), a long-lived migrant seabird species with delayed maturation and a high level of breeding site fidelity. With this work we aim to better understand how environmental contamination may affect population dynamics of synantropic species.

Research Interests

Key-words: ecotoxicology, wildlife toxicology and ecology, birds, biomarkers, mercury

I'm mostly interested in the study of environmental toxicology and risk assessment of stressors effects upon biodiversity, namely in the study of physiological, biochemical and behaviour endpoints.

My research interests are placed mainly within the study of:

  • Aquatic toxicology;

  • Markers of neurological, genotoxic and oxidative stress;

  • Bioaccumulative chemicals and toxins;

  • Birds as bioindicator species of environmental contamination;

To study these subjects I've been working with several bird species, namely: the white stork (Ciconia ciconia), herons (Ardea cinerea,  Ardea purpurea and Egretta garzetta), seagulls (Larus fuscus, Larus michaellis, Larus ridibundos, etc.), northern gannet (Morus Bassanus) and the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).

Professional Career

November 2012 till May 2013: Leonardo da Vinci intern at Terrestrial Ecology Unit (TEREC) - Department of Biology/University of Ghent.

January 2012 till June 2012: Scientific technical researcher of the project "CLIMAFUN-CLImate Changes and Potencial Impact on Soil FUNctional Ecology", at the Biology Department, CESAM - University of Aveiro.

October 2009 till June 2010 : Professional internship at CERVAS (Centro de Ecologia, Recuperação e Vigilância de Animais Selvagens) in Gouveia, Portugal. 

Awards and Scholarships

2013- present: BOF PhD grant, attributted from 1st december 2013 by the Special Research fund of Gent University, Belgium.

2012: Leonardo da Vinci grant, attributed from 12th november 2012 until 20th of may 2013, to the participation of a professional internship at TEREC- Gent University, Belgium.

2012:Technician research grant (BTI) nº BTI/UI88/5980/2012, attributed from 1 january 2012 and with the duration of 6 months.

2009: Research integration grant (BII) nº BII/CESAM-UA/Biologia, attributed from 1 january 2009 and with the duration of 1 year.

CLIMAFUN-CLImate Changes and Potencial Impact on Soil FUNctional Ecology [see details]

  1. Santos C.S.A., Brandao R., Monteiro M.S., Bastos A.C., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2017) Assessment of DNA damage in Ardea cinerea and Ciconia ciconia: A 5-year study in Portuguese birds retrieved for rehabilitation. Ecotoxicology And Environmental Safety. 136, 104-110. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2016.10.039
  2. Martins R., Oliveira T., Santos C., Kuznetsova A., Ferreira V., Avelelas F., Caetano A.P.F., Tedim J., Ferreira M., Freitas R., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2017) Effects of a novel anticorrosion engineered nanomaterial on the bivalve Ruditapes philippinarum. Environmental Science-nano. 4, 5, 1064-1076. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6EN00630B
  3. Santos C.S.A., Blondel L., Sotillo A., Müller W., Stienen E.W.M., Boeckx P., Soares A.M.V.M., Monteiro M.S., Loureiro S., de Neve L. and Lens L. (2017) Offspring Hg exposure relates to parental feeding strategies in a generalist bird with strong individual foraging specialization. Science Of The Total Environment. 601-602, 1315-1323. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.286
  4. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2016) Brain cholinesterase reactivation as a marker of exposure to anticholinesterase pesticides: a case study in a population of yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis (Naumann, 1840) along the northern coast of Portugal. Environmental Science And Pollution Research. 23, 1, 266-272. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5730-x
  5. Domingues I., Santos C.S.A., Ferreira N.G.C., Machado L., Oliveira R., Ferreira A., Lopes I., Loureiro S., Soares A.M.V.M. (2015) Suitability of enzymatic markers to assess the environmental condition of natural populations of Gambusia affinis and Daphnia magna-a case study. Environmental Monitoring And Assessment. 187, 4, (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4429-2
  6. Dias L.C.A., Soares A.M.V.M., Ferreira A.L.G., Santos C.S., Monteiro M.S. (2014) Biomarkers of endocrine disruption in juveniles and females of the estuarine fish Pomatoschistus microps. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 84, 1-2, 314-321. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.04.040
  7. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2012) Characterization of Cholinesterases in Plasma of Three Portuguese Native Bird Species: Application to Biomonitoring. Plos One. 7, 3, e33975 (see details) ISI paper
    Link: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033975
  1. Santos C. S. A. (em curso) Effects of parental resource acquisition and allocation strategies on offspring health in a migratory species: a field study. PhD Thesis. (see details)
  2. Santos C.S.A. (2012) Biomonitorization of birds under recovery: a long term study. MSc Thesis. (see details)
    Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10773/9224
  1. Santos CSA, Sotillo A, Monteiro M, Soares AMVM, Loureiro S, De Neve L., Lens L (2016) Does food quality and quantity, limited by parental feeding strategies, influence offspring fitness? A case study in Lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus). (see details)
  2. Santos CSA, Sotillo A., Monteiro MS, Soares AMVM, Loureiro S, De Neve L, Lens L (2016) Honey, I think I contaminated the kids”: a Lesser black-backed gull field study on the effect of maternal foraging and breeding strategies and offspring quality. (see details)
  3. Diogo N. Cardoso ., Nuno G. C. Ferreira ., Cátia Santos ., Amadeu M.V.M. Soares ., Susana Loureiro . (2016) Mercury contaminated food decreases the growth of collembolans: A bioaccumulation and growth study. (see details)
  4. Santos CSA, Blondel L, Monteiro MS, Soares AMVM. Soares, De Neve L, Lens L (2015) Do parental feeding strategies affect early offspring exposure to mercury contamination in Lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus)?. (see details)
  5. Martins R., Santos C., Freitas R., Tedim J., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2014) Ecotoxicity of novel anti-corrosion engineered nanomaterials in bivalves: a case study. (see details)
    Link: http://www.ipt.br/noticia/796-nanotecnologia_anticorrosao.htm
  6. Martins, R., Santos, C., Tedim, J., Freitas, R., Soares, A., Loureiro, S. (2014) Ecotoxicity of a novel anti-corrosion engineered nanomaterial in an edible bivalve species. (see details)
  7. Cardoso D., Ferreira N.G.C., Cátia Santos, Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2014) The effects of mercury contaminated food to Folsomia candida: bioaccumulation and growth. (see details)
  8. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M., Loureiro S., Bosman D., Larsen T., De Neve L., Lens L. (2014) Parental feeding behaviour, mercury accumulation and offspring fitness: a preliminary study in the Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). (see details)
  9. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2013) Biomonitorization of birds under recovery: closing the gap between risk assessement and wildlife management. (see details)
  10. Dias L.C.A., Santos C.A.S., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M. (2013) Biomarker responses to endocrine disruptors in Pomatoschistus microps. (see details)
  11. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2012) Differences in the number of micronucleated red blood cells and other nuclear abnormalities in Ciconiiformes: potential bioindicators of genotoxicity in birds. (see details)
  12. Santos C.S.A., Calado R., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2012) Changes in the biomarker responses of the clam Venerupis corrugata (Gmelin, 1791) as an indicator of varying contamination exposure in one estuary and two Portuguese coastal lagoons: a case study. (see details)
  13. Santos C.S.A., Loureiro S., Brandão R., Monteiro M., Soares A.M.V.M. (2011) Ecotoxicologia de aves: Aplicação de ferramentas ecotoxicológicas à monitorização do stress biológico e da bioacumulação de mercúrio em aves aquáticas. (see details)
  14. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2011) Blood cholinesterase characterization of Ciconia ciconia and Ardea cinerea: potential bioindicator of contamination in birds. (see details)
  15. Santos C.S.A., Monteiro M.S., Soares A.M.V.M., Loureiro S. (2011) Bioaccumulation of mercury in birds: a comparative study in Ciconiiformes, Charadriiformes and and Pelecaniformes. (see details)
  16. Santos C.S.A. , Domingues I., Lopes I., Ferreira A.L.G., Loureiro S., Soares A.M.V.M. (2009) Abiotic factors as stressors to Daphnia magna and Gambusia affinis: a case study. (see details)