Plant Ecophysiology

Research Lines

Extreme environments are critical for our understanding of plant stress responses. By studying plant responses to extreme environments, such as high mountain habitats in the Pyrenees or semi-arid environments in Mediterranean-type ecosystems, we seed to explore the limits of stress tolerance in a variety of species, from Sempervivum tectorum to Cistus albidus, among several other species. Emphasis is put into better understanding the mechanisms underlying stress tolerance, from molecular mechanisms to responses operating at the organism level.

Invasive alien species are common to natural ecosystems in the Mediterranean region and may strongly influence the composition and abundance of native plants. We currently explore the mechanisms underlying the great adaptation of invasive species and how they outcompete native plants. The effectiveness of eradication of invasive species is also a central element in our research nowadays.

Photosynthesis is an essential process to life on Earth, however, some plants are able to partially or completely live without carrying out this process. These plants are called parasitic plants since they obtain some or even all of the photoassimilates and nutrients needed to their survival from other plants. These parasitic plants and their hosts generate multiple interactions with a great impact both in agricultural and natural ecosystems. We aim to delve into the parasitic plant-host systems at the ecological, physiological and molecular levels to help manage parasitic plants better.

Marine angiosperms contribute to the function of ocean ecosystems providing habitat to many species, participating in the carbon cycle, and stabilizing the sediments. In the past years, these ecosystems have been under a great pressure due to human activity (i.e., climate change or increase in nutrients and pollutants). Hence, we focus on the study of stress biomarkers which can help us understand the mechanisms evolved by marine plants to prevent stress (including not only physiological aspects at the whole-plant level but also the underlying cellular, biochemical, and molecular aspects), as well as evaluate the quality of water and the ecosystems where they occur.

Ancient trees play a crucial role in natural ecosystems. Trees with extreme longevity are fragile elements that guarantee species survival under climatic change by providing great genetic variability and helping ensure species expansion. Plasticity and stress tolerance are central elements of tree longevity, as well as dormancy and maintenance of growth capacity over time. The study of antioxidant systems is very useful when trying to describe those processes, but also their importance to the ecosystem composition in a changing world. Oxidative stress markers in ageing processes are currently being studied aiming to understand the biological processes occurring in natural ecosystems, with an emphasis on the study of the ecophysiology of trees with extreme longevity and the ecosystemic service they provide to natural forests.

Extreme environments are critical for our understanding of plant stress responses. By studying plant responses to extreme environments, such as high mountain habitats in the Pyrenees or semi-arid environments in Mediterranean-type ecosystems, we seed to explore the limits of stress tolerance in a variety of species, from Sempervivum tectorum to Cistus albidus, among several other species. Emphasis is put into better understanding the mechanisms underlying stress tolerance, from molecular mechanisms to responses operating at the organism level.

Invasive alien species are common to natural ecosystems in the Mediterranean region and may strongly influence the composition and abundance of native plants. We currently explore the mechanisms underlying the great adaptation of invasive species and how they outcompete native plants. The effectiveness of eradication of invasive species is also a central element in our research nowadays.

Photosynthesis is an essential process to life on Earth, however, some plants are able to partially or completely live without carrying out this process. These plants are called parasitic plants since they obtain some or even all of the photoassimilates and nutrients needed to their survival from other plants. These parasitic plants and their hosts generate multiple interactions with a great impact both in agricultural and natural ecosystems. We aim to delve into the parasitic plant-host systems at the ecological, physiological and molecular levels to help manage parasitic plants better.

Marine angiosperms contribute to the function of ocean ecosystems providing habitat to many species, participating in the carbon cycle, and stabilizing the sediments. In the past years, these ecosystems have been under a great pressure due to human activity (i.e., climate change or increase in nutrients and pollutants). Hence, we focus on the study of stress biomarkers which can help us understand the mechanisms evolved by marine plants to prevent stress (including not only physiological aspects at the whole-plant level but also the underlying cellular, biochemical, and molecular aspects), as well as evaluate the quality of water and the ecosystems where they occur.

Ancient trees play a crucial role in natural ecosystems. Trees with extreme longevity are fragile elements that guarantee species survival under climatic change by providing great genetic variability and helping ensure species expansion. Plasticity and stress tolerance are central elements of tree longevity, as well as dormancy and maintenance of growth capacity over time. The study of antioxidant systems is very useful when trying to describe those processes, but also their importance to the ecosystem composition in a changing world. Oxidative stress markers in ageing processes are currently being studied aiming to understand the biological processes occurring in natural ecosystems, with an emphasis on the study of the ecophysiology of trees with extreme longevity and the ecosystemic service they provide to natural forests.