Helena Castro
Phone: (+351) 239855210
e-mail: send email
Category: Post-doctoral research fellow
Department: Life Sciences
Direct URL for this page: http://cfe.uc.pt/HCastro
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Academic Achievements

Post-doc researcher (Jul-Oct 2015) - Working within EU project "ECOSERVE - Sustainable provisioning of multiple ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes". Funding: FCT (BiodivERsA/001/2014).

Post-doctoral researcher (2008-2015 ), "The balance between biodiversity conservation and crop production in extensive wheat farming". Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra.

PhD in Ecology (2003-2008), "Effects of land use on plant composition and ecosystem functioning in the Montado ecosystem - Physiologic plant traits and plant response to disturbances". University of Coimbra

Master in Ecology (2001-2003), "Ecofisiologia de Periploca laevigata: Efeito do pastoreio na nutrição e fotossíntese". University of Coimbra.

Internship (2000), "Dinâmica da vegetação paludícola na reserva natural do Paul de Arzila, Paul da Madriz e Paul do Taipal." ICN- Instituto for Nature Conservation.

Graduation in Biology (1995-1999), University of Coimbra.

 

Research Interests

I am interested in changes in vegetation composition and functional traits, as well as in their links to ecosystems processes, such as productivity and decomposition, in relation to land use and management in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. I am also interested in diversity and vegetation dynamics of Mediterranean annual pastures. Recently, I have been focusing on plant and soil microbial diversity associated with extensive agriculture crop/fallow rotation cycle.

Advanced training

Post-graduation course "Soil microbiology: from science to practice" (J.P. Sousa, C. Canhoto & P. Morais)- DCV, University of Coimbra (2016).


Post-graduation course "The use of Trait Based approaches in Community Ecology and Stress Ecology", Module I- Key concepts and terrestrial ecosystems" (M. Berg, F. de Bello & L. Götzenberger)- DCV, University of Coimbra (2015).


Post-graduation course "Análise da comunidade de microorganismos do solo por DGGE" (S. Rodriguez-Echeverria)- CFE University of Coimbra (2009).

Visiting student (2006), CEFE-CNRS, Montpellier, França.

Visiting student (2004), CEFE-CNRS, Montpellier, França. Frequency of the advanced course "Ecologie fonctionnelle et écophysiologie"

Post-graduation course "Bioestatistical Analysis and Experimental Design", Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra (2000).

Post-graduation course "Plant-Animal Interactions", Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra (2000).

Post-graduation course "Feedback Mechanisms Between Autotrophic/ Heterotrophic Processes and Nutrient Dynamics". The Use of Balances in aquatic Systems Management, Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra (2000).

Post-graduation course "Ecological Modelling", Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra (2000).

 

 

 

Projects

2009/2012 PRACTICE- Prevention and Restoration Actions to Combat Desertification. An Integrated Assessment. Coordinator: Ramón Vallejo

2002/2005 Vulnerability of Ecosystem Services to Land Use Change in Traditional Agricultural Landscapes (VISTA) EVK2-CT-2002-00168

  1. Helena Castro, Lurdes Barrico, Susana Rodríguez-Echeverría, Helena Freitas (2016) Trends in plant and soil microbial diversity associated with Mediterranean extensive cereal–fallow rotation agro-ecosystems. 217, (see details)
    Link: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1S0JR_3qJ8EskL
  2. Lavorel, S; de Bello, F; Grigulis, K; Leps, J; Garnier, E; Castro, H; Dolezal, J; Godolets, C; Quetier, F; Thebault, A (2011) RESPONSE OF HERBACEOUS VEGETATION FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY TO LAND USE CHANGE ACROSS FIVE SITES IN EUROPE AND ISRAEL. Israel Journal Of Ecology & Evolution. 57, 1-2, 53-72. (see details) ISI paper
  3. Castro, Helena; Lehsten, Veiko; Lavorel, Sandra; Freitas, Helena (2010) Functional response traits in relation to land use change in the Montado. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment. 137, 1-2, 183-191. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: doi:10.1016/j.agee.2010.02.002
  4. Castro, Helena; Fortunel, Claire; Freitas, Helena (2010) Effects of land abandonment on plant litter decomposition in a Montado system: relation to litter chemistry and community functional parameters. Plant And Soil. 333, 1-2, 181-190. (see details) ISI paper
  5. Claire Fortunel et al. (2009) Leaf traits capture the effects of land use changes and climate on litter decomposability of herbaceous communities across Europe. Ecology. 90, 3, 598-611 (see details)
  6. Castro, H.; Freitas, H. (2009) Above-ground biomass and productivity in the Montado: From herbaceous to shrub dominated communities. Journal Of Arid Environments. 73, 4-5, 506-511. (see details) ISI paper
  7. Violle, Cyrille; Castro, Helena; Richarte, Jean; Navas, Marie-Laure (2009) Intraspecific seed trait variations and competition: passive or adaptive response?. Functional Ecology. 23, 3, 612-620. (see details) ISI paper
  8. Fortunel, C; Garnier, E; Joffre, R; Kazakou, E; Quested, H; Grigulis, K; Lavorel, S; Ansquer, P; Castro, H; Cruz, P; Dolezal, J; Eriksson, O; Freitas, H; Golodets, C; Jouany, C; Kigel, J; Kleyer, M; Lehsten, V; Leps, J; Meier, T; Pakeman, R; Papadimitriou, M; Papanastasis, VP; Quetier, F; Robson, M; Sternberg, M; Theau, JP; Thebault, A; Zarovali, M (2009) Leaf traits capture the effects of land use changes and climate on litter decomposability of grasslands across Europe. Ecology. 90, 3, 598-611. (see details) ISI paper
  9. Pakeman, Robin J.; Garnier, Eric; Lavorel, Sandra; Ansquer, Pauline; Castro, Helena; Cruz, Pablo; Dolezal, Jiri; Eriksson, Ove; Freitas, Helena; Golodets, Carly; Kigel, Jaime; Kleyer, Michael; Leps, Jan; Meier, Tonia; Papadimitriou, Maria; Papanastasis, Vasilios P.; Quested, Helen; Quetier, Fabien; Rusch, Graciela; Sternberg, Marcelo; Theau, Jean-Pierre; Thebault, Aurelie; Vile, Denis (2008) Impact of abundance weighting on the response of seed traits to climate and land use. Journal Of Ecology. 96, 2, 355-366. (see details) ISI paper
    Link: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01336.x
  10. Castro, H., Alcazar, R., Freitas, H. (2008) Reposnse of plant functional attributes to extensive agricultural practices. Two case studies from Alentejo South Portugal. Les Cahiers D'orphée. 1, 173-182 (see details)
  11. Garnier, E; Lavorel, S; Ansquer, P; Castro, H; Cruz, P; Dolezal, J; Eriksson, O; Fortunel, C; Freitas, H; Golodets, C; Grigulis, K; Jouany, C; Kazakou, E; Kigel, J; Kleyer, M; Lehsten, V; Leps, J; Meier, T; Pakeman, R; Papadimitriou, M; Papanastasis, VP; Quested, H; Quetier, F; Robson, M; Roumet, C; Rusch, G; Skarpe, C; Sternberg, M; Theau, JP; Thebault, A; Vile, D; Zarovali, MP (2007) Assessing the effects of land-use change on plant traits, communities and ecosystem functioning in grasslands: A standardized methodology and lessons from an application to 11 European sites. Annals Of Botany. 99, 5, 967-985. (see details) ISI paper
  12. Gonçalves S.C., Sedlmayr A., Castro H., Gonçalves M.T. & Freitas H. (2005) Diversidade de tipos de micorrizas em áreas sujeitas a diferentes usos do solo. Revista De Biologia. 23, 23-34 (see details)
  13. Castro, H; Nabais, C; Alados, CL; Freitas, H (2003) Effects of cessation of grazing on leaf-level photosynthesis of Periploca laevigata. Applied Vegetation Science. 6, 2, 255-260. (see details) ISI paper
  1. Castro H (2001) Dinâmica da vegetação paludícola na reserva natural do Paul de Arzila, Paul da Madriz e Paul do Taipal. Relatório de estágio. ICN - Instituto da Conservação da Natureza. (see details)
  1. Helena Castro (2008) Effects of land use change on plant composition and ecosystem functioning in an extensive agro-pastoral system: Plant functional traits and ecosystem processes. Coimbra. Departamento de Botânica - Universidade de Coimbra. (see details)
  2. Castro H. (2002) Ecofisiologia de Periploca laevigata: Efeito do pastoreio na nutrição e fotossíntese. - University of Coimbra. (see details)
  1. Direito, M., Marchante, E., Marchante, H., Mendes, L., Neves, S., Torrinha, A. (2005) Castro, H. & Freitas, H. 2005. Efeitos do abandono na estrutura da vegetação e no ciclo de nutrientes. Worshop reflexões sobre o futuro da paisagem rural: contributos da ciência. (see details)
  2. Silva S., Portugal A., Gonçalves S.C., Sousa J.P. & Gonçalves M.T. (2005) Castro, H. & Freitas, H. 2005. Land use changes, plant functional traits and ecosystem processes. 35th Annual Conference of the Ecological Society, "Landscapes, ecosystems and populations - dynamics, functions and conservation". Regensburg, Germany, 19 - 23 of September. Poster. . (see details)
  3. Silva S., Portugal A., Gonçalves S.C., Sousa J.P. & Gonçalves M.T. (2005) Castro, H. & Freitas, H. 2005. Effect of land use changes on species richness and plant functional traits. 48th International Association Vegetation Science Symposium. Lisbon, Portugal, 24 - 29 July. Oral communication. (see details)
  4. Silva S., Portugal A., Gonçalves S.C., Sousa J.P. & Gonçalves M.T. (2005) Castro, H., Alcazar, R. & Freitas, H. 2005. Response of plant functional attributes to extensive agriculture practices. Two case studies from Alentejo, South Portugal. International Symposium VISTA - WP5, "Tools for the Management of Natural Grassland". Toulouse, France, 6 - 8 of July. Oral communication. (see details)