This site describes my work in
plant biology, physiology and ecology.
I am interested in the physiological mechanisms that determine the
suitability of terrestrial plants to their environments, especially in environments
rich in ammonium.
My main scientific interest is the physiological ecology of
nitrogen (N) acquisition and impacts of increased N availability on terrestrial
plants. The distinct effects of NO3- and
NH4+ on plant performance and species
preference for one of these chemical species of N have been a constant in my
research. I am examining the role of plant N fluxes in several key areas: ecological
succession, primary productivity, carbon nitrogen interactions, physiology of
inorganic nitrogen assimilation and the role of plant micro-organism interactions in
nitrogen acquisition. Special attention is given to rhizospheric microbial consortia
(free living N fixers, phosphate solubilizers and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) in
nitrogen acquisition, the mechanisms and fluxes involved are part of the research
My current research is driven by three overarching objectives:
- to maintain long-term ecological experiments in order to collect data on the response of Mediterranean ecosystems to changes in resource availability over time and space;
- to understand the role of soil ecology on plant productivity and sustainability of eco- and agro-systems;
- to engineer the rhizosphere of crop plants in order to obtain plants tolerant of higher stresses, with increased nutrient use efficiencies and nutritional value.
The approach is highly multidisciplinary, ranging from biochemical
processes to field ecological analyses. Techniques include enzymatic kinetics, net
flux kinetics, ionic and metabolic profiling of tissues, and growth analysis. The
biological systems used are carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.), Arabidopsis
thaliana and in vitro arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi cultures. New projects are considering the physiology
of the endophyte Piriformospora indica and its application as a biofertilizer
in order to maintain food security and environmental sustainability.
- My Google Scholar page is here.
- My ResearchGate page is here.
- My ResearcherID page is here.
- My institutional page is here.
||Prof. Cristina Cruz
Fac. Ciências Univ. Lisboa
Bloco C-2, Piso 5, Sala 3
|+(351) 21 750 0000,