Centre for Environmental Biology Contacts


Principal Researcher, FCT Researcher 2012

CBA research group(s):

Environmental Stress
and Functional Ecology

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Cristina Branquinho

Main Research Interests

My main research interests are 1) Environmental Pollution: Monitoring the impact of pollution or anthropogenic activities, such as, mines, quarries, industrial, rural and urban areas on different environmental matrixes: air, soil, water, plants and also at ecosystem level. 2) Ecological Management and Restoration: Relate land-use changes and landscape fragmentation with changes in biodiversity. Monitoring environmental quality in an integrated and holistic perspective. Proposing managing options for the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems. 3) Plant Ecology and Ecophysiology: Physiological basis of plants and cryptogams responses to several types of pollution. Ecology of rare plants in particular those with metal tolerance. 4) Environmental Health studies: Developing environmental biomonitoring to assess human exposure to toxic pollutants mainly, heavy metals, dioxins, furans and PAHs. Relating several environmental bioindicators with public health indicators in order to develop efficient tools for evaluation of the Human health risk assessment for chronic effects on health.


Academic Qualifications

- 1997 PhD in Biology - Ecology and Systematics (University of Lisbon)

- 1989 5-year college graduation in Biology (University of Lisbon)

Recent Publications

Cruz de Carvalho R., Silva A.B., Soares R., Almeida A.M., Coelho A.V., Marques da Silva J. & Branquinho C. 2014. Differential proteomics of dehydration and rehydration in bryophytes: evidence towards a common desiccation tolerance mechanism. Plant Cell & Environment 37(7):1499-1515.

Nunes A., Oliveira G., Cabral M.S., Branquinho C. & Correia O. 2014. Beneficial effect of pine thinning in mixed plantations through changes in the understory functional composition. Ecological Engineering 70:387-396.

Munzi S., Cruz C., Branquinho C., Pinho P., Leith I.D. & Sheppard L.J. 2014. Can ammonia tolerance amongst lichen functional groups be explained by physiological responses? Environmental Pollution 187:206-209.

Pinho P., Llop E., Ribeiro M.C., Cruz C., Soares A., Pereira M.J., Branquinho C. 2014. Tools for determining critical levels of atmospheric ammonia under the influence of multiple disturbances. Environmental Pollution 188:88-93.

Príncipe A.S., Nunes A., Pinho P., Rosário L., Correia O. & Branquinho C. 2014. Modeling the long-term natural regeneration potential of woodlands in semi-arid regions to guide restoration efforts. European Journal of Forest Research 133(4):757-767.

Ribeiro M.C., Pinho P., Llop E., Branquinho C., Soares A. & Pereira M.J. 2014. Associations between outdoor air quality and birth weight: a geostatistical sequential simulation approach in Coastal Alentejo, Portugal. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 28(3):527-540.

Augusto S., Máguas C. & Branquinho C. 2013. Guidelines for biomonitoring persistent organic pollutants (POPs), using lichens and aquatic mosses – a review. Environmental Pollution 180:330-338.

Augusto S., Pereira M.J., Máguas C. & Branquinho C. 2013. A step towards the use of biomonitors as estimators of atmospheric PAHs for regulatory purposes. Chemosphere 95:626-632.

Munzi S., Branquinho C., Cruz C. & Loppi S. 2013. Nitrogen tolerance in the lichen Xanthoria parietina: the sensitive side of a resistant species. Functional Plant Biology 40(3):237-243.

Oliveira A.R., Branquinho C., Pereira M.J. & Soares A. 2013. Stochastic simulation model for the spatial characterization of lung cancer mortality risk and study of environmental factors. Mathematical Geosciences 45(7):437-452.

Ribeiro M.C., Pinho P., Llop E., Branquinho C., Sousa A.J. & Pereira M.J. 2013. Multivariate geostatistical methods for analysis of biodiversity and environmental factors at multiple spatial scales. Ecological Indicators 29:339-347.

Antunes C., Correia O., Marques da Silva J., Cruces A., Freitas C. & Branquinho C. 2012. Factors involved in spatiotemporal dynamics of submerged macrophytes in a Portuguese coastal lagoon under Mediterranean climate. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 110:93-100.

Augusto S., Pereira M.J., Máguas C., Soares A. & Branquinho C. 2012. Assessing human exposure to PAHs in a petrochemical region based on data from environmental biomonitor. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 75:819–830.

Cruz de Carvalho R., Catalá M., García-Breijo F., Marques da Silva J., Branquinho C. & Barreno E. 2012. The impact of different rates of dehydration on the production and cellular location of reactive oxygen species in an aquatic bryophyte. Annals of Botany 110(5):1007-1016.

Llop E., Pinho P., Matos P., Pereira M.J. & Branquinho C. 2012. The se of lichen functional groups as indicators of air quality in a Mediterranean urban environment. Ecological Indicators 13:215-221.

Pinho P., Bergamini A., Carvalho P., Branquinho C., Stofer S., Scheidegger C. & Máguas C. 2012. Lichen functional groups as ecological indicators of the effects of land-use in Mediterranean ecosystems. Ecological Indicators 15:36-42.

Pinho P., Theobald M.R., Dias T., Tang Y.S., Cruz C., Martins-Loução M.A., Máguas C., Sutton M. & Branquinho C. 2012. Critical loads of nitrogen deposition and critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for Mediterranean evergreen woodlands. Biogeosciences 9:1205-1215.

Augusto S., Gonzalez C., Vieira R., Máguas C., & Branquinho C. 2011. Evaluating Sources of PAHs in Urban Streams Based on Land Use and Biomonitors. Environmental Science & Technology 45(8):3731–3738.

Branquinho C., Matos P., Vieira A.R. & Prestello-Ramos M.M. 2011. The relative impact of lichen symbiotic partners to repeated copper uptake. Environmental and Experimental Botany 72:84-92.

Cruz de Carvalho R., Branquinho C. & Marques da Silva J. 2011. Physiological consequences of desiccation in the aquatic bryophyte Fontinalis antipyretica. Planta 234(1):195-205.

Munzi S., Loppi S., Cruz C. & Branquinho C. 2011. Do lichens have “memory” of their native N environment? Planta 233(2):333-342. 

Ochoa-Hueso R., Allen E.B., Branquinho C., Cruz C., Dias T., Fenn M.E., Manrique E., Pérez-Corona M.E., Sheppard L. & Stock W. 2011. Nitrogen deposition effects on Mediterranean-type ecosystems: An ecological assessment. Environmental Pollution 159:2265-2279.

Pinho P., Dias T., Cruz C., Tang Y.S., Sutton M., Martins-Loução M.A., Máguas C & Branquinho C. 2011. Using lichen functional-diversity to assess the effects of atmospheric ammonia in Mediterranean woodlands. Journal of Applied Ecology 48:1107–1116.

Serrano H.C., Pinto M.J., Martins-Loução M.A. &  Branquinho C.  2011. How does an Al-hyperaccumulator plant respond to a natural field gradient of soil phytoavailable Al? Science of the Total Environment 409:3749–3756.

Augusto S., Máguas C., Matos J., Pereira M.J. & Branquinho C. 2010. Lichens as an integrating tool for monitoring PAH atmospheric deposition: A comparison with soil, air and pine needles. Environmental Pollution 158(2):483-489.

Durão R.M., Pereira M.J., Branquinho C. & Soares A. 2010. Assessing spatial uncertainty of the Portuguese fire risk through direct sequential simulation. Ecological Modelling 221(1):27–33.

Ribeiro M.C., Pereira M.J., Soares A., Branquinho C., Augusto S.,  Llop E., Fonseca S., Nave J.G., Tavares A.B., Dias C.M., Silva A., Selemane I., De Toro J., Santos M.J. & Santos F. 2010. A study protocol to evaluate the relationship between outdoor air pollution and pregnancy outcomes. BMC Public Health 10:613.

Augusto S., Máguas C. & Branquinho C. 2009. Understanding the performance of different lichen species as biomonitors of atmospheric dioxins and furans: potential for intercalibration. Ecotoxicology 18:1036-1042.

Augusto S., Máguas C., Matos J., Pereira M.J., Soares A. & Branquinho C. 2009. Spatial modelling of PAHs in lichens for fingerprinting of multi-source atmospheric pollution. Environmental Science & Technology 43:7762-7769.

Gonzalez C., Clemente  A., Nielsen K.A., Branquinho C. & Ferreira dos Santos R. 2009. Human–nature relationship in Mediterranean streams: Integrating different types of knowledge to improve water management. Ecology and Society 14(2):35.

Vieira A.R., Gonzalez C., Martins-Loução M.A. & Branquinho C. 2009. Intracellular and extracellular ammonium (NH4(+)) uptake and its toxic effects on the aquatic biomonitor Fontinalis antipyretica. Ecotoxicology 18:1087-1094.

Branquinho C., Gaio-Oliveira G., Augusto S., Pinho P., Máguas C. & Correia O. 2008. Biomonitoring spatial and temporal impact of atmospheric dust from a cement industry. Environmental Pollution 151(2):292-299.

Pinho P., Augusto S., Máguas C., Pereira M.J., Soares A. & Branquinho C. 2008. Impact of neighborhood land-cover in epiphytic lichen diversity: Analysis of multiple factors working at different spatial scales. Environmental Pollution 152(2):414-422.

Pinho P., Augusto S., Martins-Loução M.A., Pereira M.J., Soares A., Máguas C. & Branquinho C. 2008. Causes of change in nitrophytic and oligotrophic lichen species in a Mediterranean climate: Impact of land cover and atmospheric pollutants. Environmental Pollution 154(3):380-389.

Augusto S., Catarino F. & Branquinho C. 2007. Interpreting the dioxin and furan profiles in the lichen Ramalina canariensis Steiner for monitoring air pollution. Science of the Total Environment 377:114-123.

Augusto S, Pereira MJ, Soares A & Branquinho C. 2007. The contribution of environmental bio monitoring with lichens to assess human exposure to dioxins. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 210:433-438.

Branquinho C., Serrano H.C., Pinto M.J. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2007. Revisiting the plant hyperaccumulation criteria to rare plants and earth abundant elements. Environmental Pollution 146:437-443.


Ongoing Projects

  • Modeling ecosystem structure and functional diversity as early-warning indicators of desertification and land - degradation - from regional to local level (PTDC/AAC-CLI/104913/2008).

  • Spheres of ecosystem response to nitrogen (SERN): A case study in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem in southern Portugal (PTDC/BIA-BEC/ 99323/2008).


Other Information

Review for Chemistry and Ecology; Chemosphere; Ecological Indicators; Ecotoxicology; Ecotoxicology and Environment Safety; Environment and Experimental Botany; Environment Monitoring and Assessment; Environment Research; Environmental Pollution; Journal of Arid Environments; Journal of Environmental and; Experimental Botany; New Phytologist; Plant and Soil; Royal Society Biology Letters; Science of the Total Environment.

The Project SinesBioar wined the prize in 2006 “Best of the Best” given by the Life Environment Committee for the best projects of 2005-2006.

2012-2016 – Leader of the working group 3 “Traditional and Innovative Systems: Plants, Ecology and Microclimate Manipulation for Enhanced Vegetation Establishment Think-Tank” of the Cost action ES1104 ”Arid Lands Restoration and Combat of Desertification: Setting Up a Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub”.
2011-2014 - National representative of the Cost action FP0903: “Climate Change and Forest Mitigation and Adaptation in a Polluted Environment (MAFor)”.