Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology


Auxiliar Researcher, FCT Researcher 2012

CBA research group(s):

Experimental Evolution


Personal webpage

Team webpage

Sara Magalhães

Main Research Interests

My research lies at the intersection between Ecology and Evolution. I aim at addressing the short-term evolutionary changes in populations, using ecologically-relevant scenarios. As a research model, I use spider mites, tiny spider-like arthropods that cause severe damage to several crop plants (tomato, bean, cucumber, citrus, strawberry, etc), and occasionally Drosophila and some micro-organisms. Whenever it is possible, I use Experimental Evolution, which allows following the evolutionary trajectories of populations in real time.

Currently, my group is focusing on (a) host-parasite interactions, in which mites are either hosts or parasites, (b) sex allocation and (c) mate choice


Academic Qualifications

- 2004 PhD in (University of Amsterdam)

- 1995 5-year college graduation in Biology (University of Lisbon)

Recent Publications

Bárbaro M., Mira M. S., Fragata I., Simões P., Lima M., Lopes-Cunha M., Kellen B., Santos J., Varela S.A.M., Matos M.* & Magalhães S.* 2015. Evolution of mating behavior between two populations adapting to common environmental conditions. Ecology and Evolution 5(8):1609–1617 [* joint last authors]

Magalhães S., Cailleau A., Blanchet E. & Olivieri I. 2014. Do mites evolving in a alternating host plants adapt to host switch? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27(2014):1956-1964.

Moya-Laraño J.,Bilbao-Castro J.R., Barrionuevo G., Ruiz-Lupión D., Casado L.G., Montserrat M., Melián C. & Magalhães S. 2014. Simulating eco-evolutionary dynamics across space: rapid evolution and the degree of island isolation explain food web persistence. Advances in Ecological Research 50:75-143.

Martins N.E., Faria V.G., Nolteb V., Schlöttererb C., Teixeira L., Sucena E. & Magalhães S. 2014. Host adaptation to viruses relies on few genes with different cross-resistance properties. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111(16):5938-5943.

Martins N.E., Faria V.G., Teixeira L., Magalhães S. & Sucena E. 2013. Host adaptation is contingent upon the infection route taken by pathogens. Plos Pathogens 9:e1003601.

Miskinyte M., Sousa A.M., Ramiro R., Sousa J., Caramalho I., Magalhães S. & Gordo I. 2013. The genetic basis of Escherichia coli pathoadaptation to macrophages. Plos Pathogens 9:e1003802.

Boubou A., Migeon A., Roderick G.K., Auger P., Cornuet J.-M., Magalhães S. & Navajas M. 2012. Test of colonization scenarios reveals complex complex invasion history of the red tomato spider mite Tetranychus evansi. Plos One 7:e35601.

Macke E., Magalhães S., Bach F. & Olivieri I. 2012 Sex ratio adjustment in response to local mate competition is achieved through an alteration of egg size in a haplodiploid spider mite. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279(1747):4634-4642.

Macke M., Magalhães S., Khan H.D., Frantz A., Facon B. & Olivieri I. 2012. Mating modifies female life history in a haplodiploid spider mite. American Naturalist 179(5):E147-162.

Magalhães S. & Matos M. 2012. Strengths and weaknesses of experimental evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27:649-650.

Montserrat M., Magalhães S., Sabelis M.W., de Roos A.M. & Janssen A. 2012. Invasion success in communities with reciprocal intraguild predation depends on the stage structure of the resident population. Oikos 121:67-76.

Sousa A.M., Magalhães S. & Gordo I. 2012. Cost of antibiotic resistance and the geometry of adaptation. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29(5):1417-1428.

Bitume E.V., Bonte D., Magalhães S., SanMartin G., van Dongen S., Bach F., Anderson J., Olivieri I. & Nieberding C. 2011. Heritability and artificial selection on ambulatory dispersal  distance in Tetranychus urticae: Effects of density and maternal effects. Plos One 6(10):e26927.

Grbic´ M., Van Leeuwen T., Clark R.M., Rombauts S., Rouzé P., Grbic´ V.,  Osborne E.J., Dermauw W., Thi Ngoc P.C., Ortego F., Hernández-Crespo P., Diaz I., Martinez M., Navajas M., Sucena E., Magalhães S., Nagy L., Pace R.M., Djuranovic´ S., Smagghe G., Iga M., Christiaens O, Veenstra J.A., Ewer J., Villalobos R.M., Hutter J.L., Hudson S.D., Velez M., Yi S.V., Zeng J., Silva A.P., Roch F., Cazaux M., Navarro M., Zhurov V., Acevedo G., Bjelica A., Fawcett J.A., Bonnet E., Martens C., Baele G., Wissler L., Sanchez-Rodriguez A., Tirry L., Blais C., Demeestere K, Henz S.R., Gregory T.R., Mathieu J., Verdon L., Farinelli L., Schmutz J., Lindquist E., Feyereisen R.  & Van de Peer Y. 2011. The genome of Tetranychus urticae reveals herbivorous pest Adaptations.  Nature 479:487–492.

Macke E., Magalhães S., Bach F. & Olivieri I. 2011. Experimental Evolution of Reduced Sex Ratio Adjustment Under Local Mate Competition. Science 334(6059):1127-1129.

Macke M., Magalhães S., Khan H.D., Luciano A., Frantz A., Facon B. & Olivieri I. 2011. Sex allocation in haplodiploids is mediated by egg size: evidence in the spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London London B-Biological Sciences 278(1708):1054-63.

Magalhães S., Blanchet E., Egas M. & Olivieri I. 2011. Environmental effects on the detection of local adaptation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:2653-2662.

Magalhães S., Blanchet E., Egas M. & Olivieri I. 2009. Are adaptation costs necessary to build up a local adaptation pattern? BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:182.

Oku K., Magalhães S. & Dicke M. 2009. The presence of webbing affects the oviposition rate of two-spotted spider mites, Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae). Experimental and Applied Acarology 49:167-172.

Xue H.J., Magalhães S., Li W.Z. & Yang X.K. 2009. Reproductive barriers between two sympatric beetle species specialized on different host plants. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22:2258-2266.

Lopes P.C., Sucena E., Santos E. & Magalhães S. 2008. Rapid experimental evolution of pesticide resistance in C. elegans entails no costs and affects the mating system. PLoS One 3:e3741.

Montserrat M., Magalhães S., Sabelis M.W., de Roos A.M. & Janssen A. 2008. Unexpected patterns of exclusion in an experimental system with intraguild predation. Journal of Animal Ecology 3:624-630. (Selected "must read" paper by Faculty Of 1000 Biology)

Olivieri I., Singer M.C., Magalhães S., Courtiol A., Dubois Y., Carbonell D., Justy F. Beldade P., Parmsean C. & Michalakis Y. 2008. Understanding host use and genetic differentiation among populations of a thistle weevil. Evolutionary Applications 1:112-128.

Janssen A., Sabelis M.W., Magalhães S., Montserrat M. & van der Hammen T. 2007. Habitat structure affects intraguild predation. Ecology 88:2713-2719.

Magalhães S., Fayard J., Janssen, A., Carbonell D. & Olivieri I. 2007. Adaptation in a spider mite population after longterm evolution on a single host plant. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20:2016-2027.

Magalhães S., Forbes M.R., Skoracka A., Osakabe M., Chevillon C. & McCoy K.D. 2007. Host race formation in the Acari. Experimental and Applied Acarology 42:225-238.

Magalhães S., van Rijn P.C.J., Montserrat M., Pallini A. & Sabelis M.W. 2007. Population dynamics of thrips prey and their mite predators in a refuge. Oecologia 150:557-568.

Montserrat M., Bas C., Magalhães S., Sabelis M.W. & Janssen A. 2007. Predators induce egg retention in prey. Oeocologia 150:699-705.

Ongoing Projects

  • 2013-2016: Evolution of sex allocation in Tetranychus urticae, a major crop pest (co-PI with Isabelle Olivieri); FCT_ANR grant.

Other Information

  • Reviewing work for scientific journals: Advances in Ecological Research; Animal Behaviour; Australian Journal of Entomology; Behavioral Ecology; Biocontrol; Biological Invasions; Biological Journal of the Linnean Society; Bulletin of Entomological Research; Ecological Entomology; Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata; European Journal of Entomology; Evolution; Evolutionary Applications; Evolutionary Ecology; Experimental and Applied Acarology; Heredity; Insect Science and its Applications; Journal of Evolutionary Biology; Journal of Insect Behaviour; Molecular Ecology; Naturwissenschaften; Neotropical Entomology; Oecologia; Oikos; PeerJ; Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology; Plos ONE, Scientific Reports.

  • Reviewing work for grants and awards:
    -     The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), VENI scheme. (2007)
    -     BARD, binational agricultural research and development fund (USA-ISRAEL) (2008)
    -     Research  Foundation Flanders (FWO), post-doctoral fellowship (2013)