Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology



Full Professor

CBA research group(s):

Biotic-Abiotic Interactions


Personal webpage

Team webpage 1

Maria Amélia Martins-Loução

Main Research Interests

My main research interests are ecophysiological and ecological approaches on: (i) Plant nitrogen use strategies; (ii) Nitrogen in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum; (iii) Plant-mycorrhizal symbiosis, towards the understanding of ecosystem functioning and monitoring.

Plant and ecosystem conservation is my second research area directed to: (i) development of scientific infrastructures for ex situ conservation; (ii) implementation of global strategy for plant conservation as a mission of botanical gardens; (iii) environmental education as an out-of-class learning to reveal the role of plants as the basis for all life on earth; (iv) science promotion as a tool in the development of fully informed citizens.


Academic Qualifications

- "Agregação" (Opposition) in Ecology. UL (1995)
- PhD in Biology - Ecology and Biosystematics. UL (1985)
- Graduation in Biology. UL (1972)

Recent Publications

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.

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.

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.

Marques I., Fuertes Aguilar J., Martins-Loução M.A. & Nieto Feliner G. 2012. Spatial-temporal patterns of flowering asynchrony and pollinator fidelity in hybridizing species of Narcissus. Evolutionary Ecology 26(1):1-18.

Marques I., Nieto Feliner G., Martins-Loução M.A. & Fuertes Aguilar J. 2012. Genome size variation in early-generation hybrids of Narcissus. Annals of Botany 109(1):257-264.

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.

Corrêa A., Hampp R., Magel E. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2011. Carbon allocation in ectomycorrhizal plants at limited and optimal N supply: an attempt at unraveling conflicting theories. Mycorrhiza 21:35–51.

Cruz C., Dominguez-Valdivia M.D., Aparício-Tejo J.M., Lamsfus C., Bio A.M.F., Martins-Loução M.A. & 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.  

Máguas C., Rascher K.G., Martins-Loução M.A., Carvalho P., Pinho P., Ramos M., Correia O. & Werner C. 2011. Responses of woody species to spatial and temporal ground water changes in coastal sand dune systems. Biogeosciences 8:3823-3832.

Marques I., Nieto Feliner G., Martins-Loução M.A. & Fuertes Aguilar J. 2011. Fitness in Narcissus hybrids: low fertility is overcome by early hybrid vigour, absence of exogenous selection and high bulb propagation. Journal of Ecology 99(6):1508-1519.

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.

Brehm J.M., Maxted N., Martins-Loução M.A. & Ford-Lloyd B. 2010. New approaches for establishing conservation priorities for socio-economically important plant species. Biodiversity and Conservation 19(9):2715-2740.

Carvalho L.M., Antunes P.M., Martins-Loução M.A. & Klironomos J.N. 2010. Disturbance influences the outcome of plant-soil biota interactions in the invasive Acacia longifolia and in native species. Oikos 119 (7):1172-1180.

Correia P.J., Gama F., Pestana M. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2010. Tolerance of young (Ceratonia siliqua L.) carob rootstock to NaCl. Agricultural Water Management 97:777-938.

Marques I., Nieto Feliner G., Draper D., Martins-Loução M.A. & Fuertes Aguilar J. 2010. Unraveling cryptic reticulate relationships and the origin of orphan hybrid disjunct populations in Narcissus. Evolution 64(8):2353–2368.

Gonçalves S., Martins-Loução M.A. & Freitas H. 2009. Evidence of adaptive tolerance to nickel in isolates of Cenococcum geophilum from serpentine soils. Mycorrhiza 19:221-230.

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.

Brehm J.M., Maxted N., Ford-Lloyd .V. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2008. National inventories of crop wild relatives and wild harvested plants: case-study for Portugal. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 55(6):779-796.

Corrêa A., Strasser R.J. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2008. Plants' response to ectomycorrhizae in N limited conditions: which factors determine its variation? Mycorrhiza 18:413-427.

Correia P.J., Pestana M., Domingos I. & Martins-Loução M.A. 2008. Nutritional evaluation of nitrogen and potassium fertilization of carob tree under dry-farming conditions. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 39(5-6):652-666.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Custódio L., Correia P.J.,Martins-Loução M.A. & Romano A. 2007. Floral analysis and seasonal dynamics of mineral levels in carob tree. Journal of Plant Nutrition 30(4-6):739-753.

Gonçalves S., Portugal A., Gonçalves M.T., Vieira R., Martins-Loução M.A. & Freitas H. 2007. Genetic diversity and differential in vitro responses to Ni in Cenococcum geophilum isolates from serpentine soils in Portugal. Mycorrhiza 17(8):677-686.


Other Information

Academic Correspondent – Real Academia de Farmacia, Spain (2006- present).

Senate Member of EMUNI (EuroMediterranean University) - 2008 – at present.

Referee for the following journals: Mycorrhiza, European Journal of Soil Biology, Plant and Soil, Seed Technology, Physiologia Plantarum, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Plant Cell and Environment, Restoration Ecology, Applied Soil Ecology, Experimental Environmental Biology, New Phytology, Trees.

AWARDS: 2010 - Premio Cortes de Cadiz, Spain - 1º Prémio Iberoamericano de Botanica.


Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia, Spain - Académica Correspondiente (2006 – present);

CSIC, Spain - Foreign correspondent – Fijación y mobilización biologica de nutrients (1986 – 1989);

Portuguese Carob Association - Honourable member (1985 – at present).