Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology


PhD, Ciência 2007

CBA research group(s):

Plant Diversity and Conservation

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Helena Cotrim

Main Research Interests

My main research interests are Plant Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Systematics, and Conservation Genetics of threatened species. The focus of my research is the study of current patterns of genetic diversity, evaluation of species borders and the processes that underlie generation and maintenance of biodiversity and speciation. Evolutionary processes especially those related to Mediterranean orchid speciation and adaptive evolution. My attention is also being given to the establishment of a plant DNA bank collection at the MNHNC along with plant DNA barcoding as a global standard for the identification of plant species.


Academic Qualifications

- 2001 PhD in Biology - Plant Molecular Biology (University of Lisbon)

- 1993 M.Sc. in Plant Biotechnology (University of Lisbon)

- 1985 5-year college graduation in Biology and Geology (University of Évora)

Recent Publications

Monteiro F., Sebastiana M., Figueiredo A., Sousa L., Cotrim H.C. & Pais M.S. 2012. Labellum transcriptome reveals alkene biosynthetic genes involved in orchid sexual deception and pollination-induced senescence. Functional and Integrative Genomics 12(4):693-703.

Clemente A., Cotrim H., Magos Brehm J. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2012. As Colecções da Flora Portuguesa ameaçada no Banco de Germoplasma do Jardim Botânico do Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência da Universidade de Lisboa BG-JB-MNHNC da Universidade de Lisboa. El/O Botanico 6:18-19.

Martins-Loução MA., Clemente A., Escudeiro A., Correia A.I., Sérgio C., Garcia C., Gaio-Oliveira G., Melo I., Magos Brehm J., Cotrim H., Sim-Sim M., Pinto MJ., Antunes MT., Carvalho P. & Barata R. 2012. O Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa e a Estratégia Global para a Conservação de Plantas (2011-2020). El/O Botanico 6:7-8.

Romeiras M., Paulo O.S., Duarte M.C., Pina-Martins F., Cotrim H.C., Carine M. & Pais M.S. 2011. Origin and diversification of genus Echium (Boraginaceae) in Cape Verde archipelago. Taxon 60:1375-1385.

Martins-Loução M.A., Sérgio C., Melo I., Correia A.I., Escudeiro A., Barata A.R., Sim-Sim M., Carvalho P., Pinto M.J., Garcia C., Figueira R., Brehm J.M., Draper D., Marques I., Rosselò A., Gomes C.T., Cotrim H., Serrano H., Branquinho C. & Clememnte A. 2010. O contributo do Jardim Botânico de Lisboa para a Estratégia Global para a Conservação de Plantas (2003-2009). El/O Botanico nº4:10-11.

Soares M., Cotrim H. & Figueiredo E. 2010. Phylogenetic origin of Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) of São Tomé e Príncipe. In: X. van der Burgt, J. van der Maesen & J.-M. Onana (eds), Systematics and Conservation of African Plants, pp. 81–90. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Cotrim H., Monteiro F., Sousa E., Fay M., Chase M. & Pais M. 2009. Isolation and characterization of novel polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers from Ophrys fusca (Orchidaceae) and cross-species amplification. Conservation Genetics 10:739-742.

Romeiras M., Cotrim H.C., Duarte M.C., Pais M.S. 2007. Genetic Variation of three endangered species of Echium L.(Boraginaceae) endemic to Cape Verde Islands. Biodiversity and Conservation 16:547-566.

Ascensão L., Francisco A., Cotrim H.C. & Pais M.S. 2005. Micromorphology and Anatomy of Ophrys fusca and O. lutea labellum: a comparative study. American Journal of Botany 92(7):1059-1067.

Cotrim H.C., Chase M.W. & Pais. M.S. 2003. Genetic diversity in a rare and scattered plant species Silene rothmaleri P. Silva (Caryophyllaceae). Biodiversity and Conservation 12:1083-1098.

Pontes O., Cotrim H.C., Pais M.S. & Viegas W. 2000. Physical mapping, expression patterns and interphase organisation of rDNA loci in Portuguese endemic Silene cintrana and Silene rothmaleri. Chromosome Research 8(4):313-317.

Cotrim H.C., Barroso J.G., Figueiredo A.C. & Pais M.S. 1994. Composition of the essential oil from inflorescence of Nepeta tuberosa L. ssp. tuberosa. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 9:71-73.

Ongoing Projects

  •  2011: Consequences of past and present climatic changes on biodiversity patterns of peat-rich environments: from genes to communities (PTDC/AAC-AMB/111349/2009) collaboration with ISA &IGOT

  • 2010: Ex situ conservation of endangered endemic plant species - genetic characterization of Senecio lagascanus sssp. lusitanicus ; MNHNC, UL (Fundo EDP para a Biodiversidade)

  • 2009: Patterns of speciation in Mediterranean sexually deceptive orchids Ophrys (RBGKew, FCT)


Other Information

- Member of the Systematics Association
- Curator of the Plant DNA collection at the Botanic Garden, Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência
- Collaboration as referee with the following scientific journals: Annals of Botany, Molecular Ecology and Taxon
- Collaboration with the IUCN Orchid Specialist Group (OSG).