The Plant Science & Crop Production Group intersects Biodiversity & Conservation, Functional Genomics & Plant Acclimation, and Production Systems & Plant Protection topics. The synergies between these complementary competences build the Group’s distinctive feature of generating scientific data in support of agricultural practices for relevant crops, while associating solid knowledge about their genetic pools and understanding the underlying biological mechanisms, going beyond research with model species, which is of outmost value for advancing science.

Attentive to related regulating/supporting ecosystem services, the motivation also includes translating this knowledge to farmers and to the agrifood sector, towards resilience and sustainability. A special focus is given to woody crop species and some synergic research lines are highlighted:

  • Intensive research is oriented for grapevine concerning prospection, characterization, conservation and valorisation of autochthonous genetic variability, responses to drought and land degradation conditions and impact on berry composition and quality. Studies are enhanced through tools for precision viticulture in association with new cultural practices, e.g. incorporation of mycorrizal fungi using cover crops and new strategies to control grapevine trunk diseases.
  • Likewise, internationally recognized research is developed in coffee. Using the biggest worldwide collection of coffee genotypes, the group evaluates resistance to the most important pathogens in growing regions while investigating both pathogenicity mechanisms, and pathogen diversity and evolution.
  • Addressing climate changes, and recognizing flower development as simultaneously the phase most sensible to the expected shifts and more impacting on crop productivity, the group focus distinct sexual species with high socio-economic impact as cork, vitis and cereals besides halophytic species with apomitic reproductive processes, delivering molecular data associated with environmental effects and agronomic practices.
  • Transversally, we worked on the identification of ecological indicators to monitor Natura 2000 Network and contribute to the EU Red List of Habitats to support implementation of EU legislation. It also integrates the Portuguese distributed infrastructure to manage biodiversity data PORBIOTA to raise biodiversity awareness and public engagement with science.

With an education and science dissemination vocation, a variable number of PhD students, often integrated in national and international projects, collaborate with our team and several foreign students and visitor scholars are regularly hosted..


Group Coordinator

Luís Filipe Sanches Goulão