Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology


PhD, Academics

CBA research group(s):

Biotic-Abiotic Interactions

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Cristina Cruz

Main Research Interests

My main research interests ecophysiology of inorganic nitrogen assimilation by terrestrial plants. Nitrogen cycle in Mediterranean ecosystems. Role of symbioses in nitrogen uptake by terrestrial plants. Plant soil interactions.


Academic Qualifications

- 1994 PhD in Biology - Ecology and Biosystematics (University of Lisbon)

- 1987 5-year college graduation in Applied Plant Biology (University of Lisbon)

Recent Publications

Corrêa A., Cruz C., Pérez-Tienda J. & Ferrol N. 2014. Shedding light onto nutrient responses of arbuscular mycorrhizal plants: nutrient interactions may lead to unpredicted outcomes of the symbiosis. Plant Science 221–222:29–41.

Dias T., Clemente A., Martins-Loução M.A., Sheppard L., Bobbink R. & Cruz C. 2014. Ammonium as a driving force of plant diversity and ecosystem functioning: observations based on 5 years’ manipulation of N dose and form in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Plos One 9(4):e92517.

Fonseca M.B., Carolino M., Dias T., Cruz C. & França M. 2014. Early growth of Brazilian tree Dimorphandra wilsonii is also threatened by African grass Urochloa decumbens. Journal of Plant Interactions 9(1):92-99.

Gouveia W., Jorge T., Martins S., Meireles M., Carolino M., Cruz C., Almeida T.V. & Araújo M.E.M. 2014. Toxicity of ionic liquids prepared from biomaterials. Chemosphere 104:51-56.

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.

Shvaleva A., Costa e Silva F., Costa J.M., Anderson M., Lobo-do-Vale R., Fangueiro D., Bicho C., Pereira J.S., Chaves M.M., Skiba U. & Cruz C. 2014. Comparison of methane, nitrous oxide fluxes and CO2 respiration rates from a Mediterranean cork oak ecosystem and improved pasture. Plant and Soil 374:883-898.

Baptista S.L., Vaz Pinto P., Freitas M.C., Cruz C. & Palmeirim J.M. 2013. Geophagy by African ungulates: the case of the critically endangered giant sable antelope of Angola (Hippotragus niger variani). African Journal of Ecology 51(1):139-146.

Dias T., Oakley S., Alarcón-Gutiérrez E., Ziarelli F., Trindade H., Martins-Loução M.A., Sheppard L., Ostle N. & Cruz C. 2013. N-driven changes in a plant community affect leaf-litter traits and may delay organic matter decomposition in a Mediterranean maquis. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 58(1):163-171.

Ekblad A., Wallander H., Godbold D.L., Johnson D., Baldrian P., Björk R.G., Cruz C., Epron D., Kieliszewska-Rokicka B., Kjöller R., Kraigher H., Matzner E., Neumann J. & Plassard C. 2013. The production and turnover of extramatrical mycelium of ectomycorrhizal fungi in forest soils: role in carbon cycling. Plant and Soil 366:1-27.

Hessini K., Ben Hamed K., Gandour M., Mejry M., Abdelly C. & Cruz C. 2013. Ammonium nutrition in the halophyte Spartina alterniflora under salt stress: evidence for a priming effect of ammonium? Plant and Soil 370(1-2):163-173.

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.

Pintó-Marijuan M., Da Silva A.B., Flexas J., Dias T., Zarrouk O., Martins-Loução M.A., Chaves M.M. & Cruz C. 2013. Photosynthesis of Quercus suber is affected by atmospheric NH3 generated by multifunctional agrosystems. Tree Physiology 33:1328-1337.

Corrêa A., Gurevitch J., Martins-Loução M.A. & Cruz C. 2012. C allocation to the fungus is not a cost to the plant in ectomycorrhizae. Oikos 121:449-463.

Dias T., Martins-Loução M.A., Sheppard L. & Cruz C. 2012 The strength of the biotic compartment in retaining nitrogen additions prevents nitrogen losses from a Mediterranean maquis. Biogeosciences 9:193-201.

Fonseca M.B., Peix A., Miana de Faria S., Mateos P.F., Rivera L.P., Simões-Araujo J.L., Costa França M.G., Isaias R.M.S., Cruz C., Velázquez E., Scotti M.R., Sprent J.I. & James E.K. 2012. Nodulation in Dimorphandra wilsonii Rizz. (Caesalpinioideae), a threatened species native to the Brazilian Cerrado. Plos One 7(11):e49520.

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.

Ariz I., Cruz C., Moran J.F., Gonzalez-Moro M.B., Garcia-Olaverri C., Gonzalez-Murua C., Martins-Loução M.A. & Aparicio-Tejo P.M. 2011. Depletion of the heaviest stable N isotope is associated with NH4+/NH3 toxicity in NH4+-fed plants.  BMC Plant Biology 11:83-96.

Cruz C., Dominguez-Valdivia M.D., Aparício-Tejo J.M., Lamsfus C., Bio A.M.F., Martins-Loução Ma & Moran Jf. 2011. Intra-specific variation in pea responses to ammonium nutrition leads to different degrees of tolerance. Environmental and Experimental Botany 70(2-3):233-243.

Dias T., Neto D., Martins-Loução M.A., Shepard L. & Cruz C. 2011. Patterns of nitrate reductase activity vary according to the plant functional group in a Mediterranean maquis. Plant and Soil 347:363-376.

Dias T., Malveiro S., Martins-Loução M.A., Sheppard L. &Cruz C.  2011. Linking increased N-driven biodiversity changes with soil N availability in a Mediterranean-Type Ecosystem. Plant and Soil 341(1-2):125–136.  

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.

Shvaleva A., Lobo-do-Vale R., Cruz C., Castaldi S., Rosa A.P., Chaves M.M. & Pereira J.S. 2011. Soil atmosphere greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) exchange in evergreen oak woodland in southern Portugal. Plant Soil and Environment 57:471-477.

Hessini K., Cruz C., Gandour M., & Soltani A., Abdelly C. 2009. Do reactive oxygene species (ROS) induced by NaCl contribute to ammonium accumulation in Spartina alterniflora? Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 172:851-860.

Hessini K., Lachaal M., Cruz C. & Soltani A. 2009. Role of ammonium to limit nitrate accumulation and to increase water economy in Wild Swiss Chard. Journal of Plant Nutrition 32:821-836.

Cruz C., Bio A.M.F., Jullioti A., Tavares A., Dias T. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2008. Heterogeneity of soil surface ammonium concentration and other characteristics, related to plant specific variability in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem. Environmental Pollution 154(3):414-423.

Dominguez-Valdivia M.D., Aparicio-Tejo P.M., Lamsfus C., Cruz C., Martins-Loução M.A. & Moran J.F. 2008. Nitrogen nutrition and antioxidant metabolism in ammonium-tolerant and -sensitive plants. Physiologia Plantarum 132(3):359-369.

Cruz C., Egsgaard H., Trujillo C., Ambus P., Requena N., Martins-Loução M.A. & Jakobsen I. 2007. Enzymatic evidence for the key role of arginine in nitrogen translocation by arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi. Plant Physiology 144:782-792.

Martins-Loução M.A. & Cruz C. 2007. Microbial communities (Editorial). Journal of Soils and Sediments 7:398-398. 

Ongoing Projects

  • 2012–2014: "Adaptive Genotype-Phenotype Mapping for semi-automated gene network construction, and a principled approach to large-scale biological pathway discovery in health and disease". National Science Foundation. Participant and Portuguese coordinator.

  • 2012-2013: "Estudio de la respuesta del metabolismo del nitrógeno en plantas de interés agronómico ante la nutrición amoniacal através de su composición de isotopos estables (15N/14N)" within the second ANABASID Programme. Post-doctoral mobility grant to Dr. Idoia Ariz Arnedo (DNI 72702885T). Coordinator.

  • 2012-2014: "Role of enzymatic activity in lichen tolerance under nitrogen excess". FP7-2010- IEF-274750- Real Tune. Marie Curie grant to Silvana Munzi. Coordinator.

  • 2011-2014: "In-nitro: conceptualizing the effects of increased nitrogen availability in a Mediterranean ecosystem". PTDC/BIA-ECS/122214/2010. Coordinator.

  • 2011-2014: "Alta iradiancia y nutrition amoniacal em plantas. Movilidad y Atracción del Talento Investigador". Ministry of Education, Spain. Participant.

  • 2012–2014: "Rhizospheric microbial consortia to increase nutrient use efficiency. A tool to be used in intensive farm systems". PTDC/AGRO-PRO/115888/2009. Coordinator

  • 2011–2013: "Spheres of ecosystem responses to nitrogen (SERN). A case study in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem in southern Portugal". PTDC/BIA-BEC/099323/ 2008. Coordinator.

  • 2010–2012: "Human and plant immunity: differences and possible applications". IMM. Project 201100031. Participant.

  • 2010-2013: "Cultivation of Pineapple in the Azores: Research, Development and Application of Technologies and Practices to Improve Competitiveness and Quality of Production". RAAFDR-01-0482-FEDER-000003. Participant.