Centre for Environmental Biology

About CBA

The main goal of the CBA is to develop cutting-edge research aiming to understand biological systems, from cells to landscapes, encompassing the organism, population, community and ecosystem levels. Our research covers both terrestrial and inland aquatic systems and a wide diversity of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, lichens, plants, invertebrates and all classes of vertebrates, as well as model organisms. We aim to bridge the gap between general patterns and their mechanistic basis, which is why we favor an interdisciplinary research approach. This broad range of expertise is instrumental to our ultimate goals of developing efficient conservation programmes to preserve biodiversity and environmental quality, to define measures of sustainability and to understand the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of populations and communities. The goals of the CBA also include research dissemination and training (at the levels of high-school, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education), the establishment of partnerships at both national and international levels with public and private entities, the communication of research both within and outside the scientific community, and the participation in services/activities for the society.
With these objectives in mind, CBA research has been targeting the study of:
• Biodiversity patterns and processes at different temporal and spatial scales in Macaronesian, Mediterranean and Tropical ecosystems;
• Phylogeography of different taxa in multiple regions;
• Adaptation of a variety of organisms to environmental factors (natural and anthropogenic);
• Ecosystem functioning, ecological restoration and evaluation of ecosystem services;
• Evolutionary mechanisms shaping genetic diversity, combining experimental evolution, population genetics and functional genomic approaches;
• Physiological, ecological and evolutionary aspects of animal behaviour;
• Developmental processes in model organisms and how they change with evolution; and
• Theoretical ecology and evolution, including software development for biodiversity and evolution studies.
We have been fostering collaborations among the 10 in-house research groups, as well as the establishment of networks and partnerships worldwide.

We are enlarging our technological skills to widen the focus of our research from genetics and gene expression to genomics, cytogenomics and transcriptomics, in close association with bioinformatics and computational biology. This will allow us to address new questions in our research fields. Our interactive and multidisciplinary approach builds upon the major strength of CBA – the diversity of expertise of its teams - and contributes to the increasing success and recognition of the unit, both at national and international levels and in the society as a whole.

Scientific Coordinator
Margarida Santos-Reis

Executive Committee
Carlos Fernandes
Cristina Máguas
Maria João Collares-Pereira
Margarida Matos
Sara Magalhães

Consultative Committee

Heads of the Groups


Professor Michael Bruford (Cardiff Univ, UK  - Molecular Ecology)

Professor Dieter Ebert (Basel Univ, Switzerland - Evolutionary Biology)

Professor Adrián Escudero (Rey Juan Carlos Univ, Madrid - Plant Ecology & Conservation)


Latest report will be available soon