Silvia Castro

Silvia Castro
University of Coimbra | UC · Centre for Functional Ecology - Science for People & the Planet

PhD

About

144
Publications
42,880
Reads
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1,949
Citations
Citations since 2016
76 Research Items
1394 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
Introduction
My main research interests are: evolutionary dynamics of diploid-polyploid plant groups namely the origin, maintenance and ecological consequences of polyploidy in several complexes; evolution of flowering plants, namely the role of plant-pollinator interactions in plant reproductive strategies and phenotypic selection and I am also exploring evolutionary changes in plant reproductive strategies during the invasion process, evolution of invasiveness and impacts in native plant communities.
Additional affiliations
February 2018 - July 2018
University of Coimbra, Faculty of Sciences and Technology
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Practical classes of Plant Physiology
February 2017 - July 2017
University of Coimbra, Faculty of Sciences and Technology
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Practical classes of Plant Physiology
December 2013 - December 2018
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • What are the ecological and evolutionary consequences of genome duplications? Using neopolyploids as key innovation to understand the widespread occurrence of polyploid lineages
Education
April 2008
Charles University in Pragues
Field of study
  • Course: "Herbivory: the plant perspective"
February 2008
Charles University in Prague
Field of study
  • Course: “Methods in population biology”
January 2008 - December 2009
Independent Researcher
Independent Researcher
Field of study

Publications

Publications (144)
Article
Full-text available
Bees are a diverse group with more than 1000 species known from the Iberian Peninsula. They have increasingly received special attention due to their important role as pollinators and providers of ecosystem services. In addition, various rapid human-induced environmental changes are leading to the decline of some of its populations. However, we kno...
Article
Full-text available
Tuberaria lignosa (Cistaceae family) has excellent properties as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiproliferative/ anti-tumoural. This work aimed to establish a routine micropropagation protocol of T. lignosa to supply high-quality plants for the pharmaceutical industry. Apical shoot cuttings (0.5 cm long) were grown on basal...
Article
Full-text available
1. Intensification of agricultural landscapes to fulfil increased global food demands has dramatically impacted biodiversity and ecosystem services. Several pollinator groups, which are vital for the maintenance of pollinator-dependent crops, have been severely affected by this intensification process. Management tools, such as the implementation o...
Article
Background and Aims Hybridization is a common and important force in plant evolution. One of its outcomes is introgression - the transfer of small genomic regions from one taxon to another by hybridization and repeated backcrossing. This process is believed to be common in glacial refugia, where range expansions and contractions can lead to cycles...
Article
Full-text available
Festuca indigesta subsp. indigesta (Poaceae) is endemic to the southeast of Spain, and until recently, it was considered that its range of distribution was restricted to the siliceous core of Sierra Nevada. However, it has been recently extended in the territory to others calcareous mountains. This study investigates the cytogenetic variability thr...
Article
Insects are a functionally diverse group, with economically relevant roles on key ecosystem services, such as pollination. The current trend of biodiversity loss and consequent degradation of ecosystem services delivered by insects is leading to additional pressure on modern agriculture, particularly in crops that depend on insects for pollination....
Article
Seventy five percent of the world's food crops benefit from insect pollination. Hence, there has been increased interest in how global change drivers impact this critical ecosystem service. Because standardized data on crop pollination are rarely available, we are limited in our capacity to understand the variation in pollination benefits to crop y...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat loss is currently a major threat to biodiversity, affecting species interactions, such as plant–pollinator interactions. This is particularly important in self-incompatible plants relying on pollinators to reproduce and sustain their populations. Here, we evaluated how habitat loss affects the pollination system, plant individual–pollinator...
Article
Despite the key role of pollination in the production of many crops, this is still one of the least understood factors in the orchard context. Pollen limitation, and impacts on crop production, is influenced by several potentially interacting factors such as crop or crop variety degree of dependence on cross pollination and on pollinators, diversit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background and Aims Hybridization is a common and important force in plant evolution. One of its outcomes is introgression - the transfer of small genomic regions from one taxon to another by hybridization and repeated backcrossing. This process is believed to be common in glacial refugia, where range expansions and contractions can lead to cycles...
Article
Full-text available
Because naturalized and invasive plant species have disproportionately smaller genome sizes compared to all angiosperms, genome size has been proposed as a general predictor of invasiveness. The family Cactaceae includes some of the most important invasive species worldwide, and it is one of the plant families with lowest number of genome size esti...
Article
Full-text available
As part of the MUST-B project, a research project on field data collection for honey bee colony model evaluation was carried out in 2018-2020. In a preparatory phase (2018), methods for monitoring of honey bee colonies were tested, field operators trained, and experimental colonies established. The main field experiment was conducted in 2019-2020,...
Article
Full-text available
Inadequate quantity and quality of pollen reaching the stigmas decreases the sexual reproductive output of plants, compromising yield. Still, the current extent of pollen limitation affecting yield (i.e., pollination deficits) is poorly quantified. This study is aimed at quantifying pollination deficits in kiwifruit orchards, a dioecious plant with...
Article
Full-text available
Polyploidy has played an important evolutionary role in the genus Festuca (Poaceae), and several ploidy levels (ranging from 2n = 2x = 14 to 2n = 12x = 84) have been detected to date. This study aimed to estimate the genome size and ploidy level of two subspecies belonging to the F. yvesii polyploid complex by flow cytometry and chromosome counting...
Article
A critical aspect for obtaining accurate, reliable, and high‐resolution estimates of nuclear DNA content is the release of nuclei from the cytoplasm in sufficient amounts, while maintaining their integrity throughout the analysis, protecting their DNA from degradation by endonucleases, and enabling stoichiometric DNA staining. In embryophytes, the...
Article
The Balkan Peninsula is recognized as one of the hotspots of biodiversity in Europe. This area has shown since the Last Glacial Maximum appropriate conditions for species diversification and hybridization, which has led to the existence of numerous taxonomically unresolved entities. Here, we focus on the Western Balkans and explore the genetic stru...
Article
Pollen grains are the male gametophytes in a seed‐plant life cycle. Their small, particulate nature and crucial role in the plant reproduction have made them an attractive object of study using flow cytometry (FCM), with a wide range of applications existing in the literature. While methodological considerations for many of these overlap with those...
Article
Full-text available
Even though plants represent an essential part of our lives offering exploitational, supporting and cultural services, we know very little about the biology of the rarest and most threatened plant species, and even less about their conservation status. Rapid changes in the environment and climate, today more pronounced than ever, affect their fitne...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål, 1855) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), in mainland Portugal is confirmed. The European and Iberian distribution of the species is summarized. A possible approach to deal with this problematic pest in the country is briefly discussed.
Preprint
Full-text available
In this article we are reporting a very unusual result in a plant we call “Pleasant Progress” (Figure 1). “Pleasant Progress” is the result of a hand cross between the diploid hybrid seed parent, (cumberlandense X viscosum) (Towe) (Figure 2), with the tetraploid species pollen parent, R. colemanii. (Figure 3) What is surprising is that “Pleasant Pr...
Article
Polyploidy plays a significant role in the evolution and diversification of flowering plants. In several polyploid complexes, high morphological variability and plasticity coupled with cytogenetic diversity make it difficult to disentangle their evolutionary history. The main goal of this study was to gain insights into the role of whole genome dup...
Article
Polyploidy plays a significant role in the evolution and diversification of flowering plants. In several polyploid complexes, high morphological variability and plasticity coupled with cytogenetic diversity make it difficult to disentangle their evolutionary history. The main goal of this study was to gain insights into the role of whole genome dup...
Article
Full-text available
The reproductive systems of invasive species play a key role in determining their geographical distributions. Oxalis pes-caprae is a clonal, polyploid, heterostylous, plant native to South Africa, but now invasive in all major Mediterranean climatic regions. Here, we extend earlier surveys in the Western Mediterranean basin of floral morph ratios,...
Article
Background and aims: Polyploidy is an important contributor to sympatric speciation and assortative mating is a key mechanism driving cytotype interactions at contact zones. While strong reproductive barriers can mediate the coexistence of different cytotypes in sympatry, positive frequency-dependent mating disadvantage ultimately drives the trans...
Article
Full-text available
Polyploidization is a widespread mechanism of evolutionary divergence in flowering plants. Ecological divergence of polyploid lineages has been proposed as a key process shaping the distribution of cytotypes in nature (niche shift hypothesis); however, evidence for the role of niche separation in replicated diploid-polyploid species pairs is still...
Article
Premise Newly formed polyploids face significant obstacles to persistence and population establishment because of fitness costs of intercytotype mating. Selfing provides the opportunity to escape mate limitation, enabling production of new individuals and increasing the likelihood of fixation of new polyploid lineages. Still, association between se...
Article
Limonium mucronatum (L.f.) Chaz. (Plumbaginaceae), a strict endemic of Morocco, has a restricted range in the littoral zone between Rabat and Tan Tan (Draa valley). This coastal region at the junction of Mediterranean, Canary and Saharan influences is of considerable biogeographical interest. However, little information exists on L. mucronatum comm...
Article
Background and aims: The distribution of cytotypes and its potential correlation with environmental variables represent a cornerstone to understanding the origin and maintenance of polyploid lineages. Although many studies have addressed this question in single species at a regional scale, only a few have attempted to decipher this enigma in group...
Article
Full-text available
A central challenge in plant ecology is to define the major axes of plant functional variation with direct consequences for fitness. Central to the three main components of plant fitness (growth, survival, and reproduction) is the rate of metabolic conversion of CO2 into carbon that can be allocated to various structures and functions. Here we (1)...
Article
A polinização é um processo natural imprescindível a uma produção frutícola de qualidade. O GO PoliMax enquadra-se neste contexto e tem como objectivo promover e aumentar a polinização entomófila (insectos domésticos e silvestres) pretendendo incrementar valor nutricional e, consequentemente, comercial dos frutos, favorecendo o reconhecimento da fi...
Article
Full-text available
Premise of research. Interspecific hybridization was hypothesized to explain the remarkable floral phenotype variation found in overlapping areas of distribution for several Anacyclus species. We aimed to investigate genome size in natural populations of three diploid Anacyclus species with special emphasis in their contact areas to explore pattern...
Article
Polyploids often have divergent geographical ranges compared to their diploid progenitors, but the causes of such differentiation are poorly understood. The geographical ranges of cytotypes within polyploid complexes may be caused by multiple factors, including historical events, interactions among cytotypes and divergent environmental tolerances,...
Article
PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Ray flowers commonly observed in daisies’ flowering heads are a well-know example of advertising structures for enhancing pollinator attraction. Despite this, ray loss has occurred in multiple lineages, which still rely on pollinators, suggesting that rayless phenotypes could also be adaptive for animal-pollination. Here, we i...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid evolutionary change often plays an important role in determining the success of plant invasions. Oxalis pes-caprae, a geophyte native to South Africa, has become a persistent invasive weed in several areas of the world, being particularly widespread in regions with a Mediterranean climate. The objective of this study was to look for the exist...
Article
The genus Limonium (sea lavenders) is characterized by various taxonomically challenging complexes with great karyological diversity, and chromosomes ranging in size from diminutive to large. In this biosystematic study, our goal was to investigate cytogenetic features of twelve sexual and asexual taxa in a particular part of their distribution ran...
Article
Full-text available
Myrmecochorous plants produce seeds with lipid-rich appendages (elaiosomes) which act as a reward for seed-dispersing ants. Seed dispersal is important for exotic species, which often need to establish new mutualistic interactions in order to colonize new non-native habitats. However, little is known about the importance of elaiosomes for seed remo...
Poster
Full-text available
The Southwest region of Europe has extensive areas of insect pollinated oilseed crops, with sunflower having high economic value. However, pollination services have been severely reduced by habitat destruction and global pollinator decline. Recent evidence has shown that such ecosystem service can be eventually mitigated by the implementation of na...
Poster
Pollination is an important biodiversity-dependent service supporting food provisioning and affecting directly the yield and quality of over 75% of crops worldwide. Actinidia deliciosa is a dioecious species and therefore efficient pollination, i.e., pollen transfer between male and female plants, is a key feature in fruit production. Moreover, kiw...
Article
Full-text available
Limonium vulgare and related species form a complex group, but until now cytological and genetic studies have been based on single species and specific geographical areas. We investigated genome size, karyological and genetic diversity in samples from Western Mediterranean and evaluated the phylogenetic relationships among the species of this compl...
Article
Full-text available
Polyploidization has been traditionally considered a phenomenon that mediates ecological differentiation; however, the adaptive value of genome duplications has been seldom explored. Natural or synthetic polyploids offer unique opportunities to experimentally quantify the immediate consequences of genome duplications in plant traits that may be inv...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aims The origin of different cytotypes by autopolyploidy may be an important mechanism in plant diversification. Although cryptic autopolyploids probably comprise the largest fraction of overlooked plant diversity, our knowledge of their origin and evolution is still rather limited. Here we study the presumed autopolyploid aggregate...
Article
A taxonomic revision of the genus Calendula is presented, based on an extensive analysis of its morphological variation, which allowed a re-evaluation of the species delimitations in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. Morphometric data based on field and herbarium material were gathered and analysed. Characters traditionally used to de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Verbascum litigiosum Samp. (Scrophulariaceae) is an endemic plant species from Portugal, growing in dune systems from the Centre (Serra da Boa Viagem, Figueira da Foz) to the South regions (Algarve), with an estimated area of occupancy of 200 km². This species has been classified by IUCN as Vulnerable B2; however, the recent detection of novel popu...
Article
An integrative approach combining morphological, molecular and cytological information was used to assess the taxonomy and biogeography of Hierochloë section Monoecia. More specifically, we aimed to evaluate (1) if the morphological and molecular data are in concert with the current taxonomy of the group and (2) if speciation in this exclusively So...
Article
Full-text available
The distribution of cytotypes in mixed-ploidy species is crucial for evaluating ecological processes involved in the establishment and evolution of polyploid taxa. Here, we use flow cytometry and chromosome counts to explore cytotype diversity and distributions within a tetraploid-octoploid contact zone. We then use niche modeling and ploidy seed s...
Article
Full-text available
Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L. ssp. vulgaris) is one of the most important European crops for both food and sugar production. Crop improvement has been developed to enhance productivity, sugar content or other breeder's desirable traits. The introgression of traits from Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) has been done essentially for lessening biotic stresses...
Article
A reliable taxonomic framework and the identification of evolutionary lineages are essential for effective decisions in conservation biodiversity programs. However, phylogenetic reconstruction becomes extremely difficult when polyploidy and hybridization are involved. Veronica subsection Pentasepalae is a diploid-polyploid complex of ca. 20 species...
Poster
Full-text available
The present work is a first approximation to describe the ecological preferences of V. tenuifolia ssp. javalambrensis cytotypes.
Article
The current study aims at the molecular characterization of Pistacia atlantica Desf. Subsp atlantica in Northwestern Algeria. The genome size estimation was performed for the first time for the species using flow cytometry on 97 samples. The flow cytometry analysis led to estimate a very small genome (2C = 1.21 ± 0.02 pg). Meristematic somatic cell...
Article
Full-text available
Natural hybridization and polyploidy are currently recognized as drivers of biodiversity despite early sceptical views about their importance. The Mediterranean region is a biodiversity hotspot where geological and climatic events have created numerous opportunities for speciation through hybridization and polyploidy. Still, our knowledge on the fr...
Article
Full-text available
The current study aims at the molecular characterization of Pistacia atlantica Desf. Subsp atlantica in Northwestern Algeria. The genome size estimation was performed for the first time for the species using flow cytometry on 97 samples. The flow cytometry analysis led to estimate a very small genome (2C = 1.21 ± 0.02 pg). Meristematic somatic cell...