TERRA - Climate change impacTs in EstaRRejA region
Ana Rita Silva
Nazaret González-Alcaraz; Marija Prodana, Patrícia V. Silva, Susana Loureiro
Project type
Projet OHM
Biologie, Climatologie, Écologie, Géologie
Although great efforts have been made over the last years, climate change continues to impact our planet. According to IPCC predictions, atmospheric CO2 levels and mean temperature are expected to continue rising jointly with the frequency/intensity/duration of extreme weather events (e.g., droughts and floods). The impact of climate change may be exacerbated in metal(loid)-contaminated areas, such as the Estarreja municipality, where ecosystems have been under stress for decades. TERRA aims to understand the effects of climate change alterations on the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, using contaminated soils from Estarreja. For that, extreme climate events/predicted climate change scenarios (including changes in combined climate factors according to IPCC) will be simulated to evaluate their effects on the ecotoxicity in terrestrial and aquatic inhabitants. Moreover, soil/water properties, e.g. pH, metal(loid) content, soil organic carbon, will be evaluated to establish the link between soil/water properties and effects under changing climate factors. Considering that extreme climate events have been reported in the last years in Portugal, the project intends to understand the dynamics behind contamination in this region after these events, by evaluating contamination level in Estarreja region five years later (by comparing with previous works). TERRA will provide crucial data for Portugal and worldwide regarding the consequences of climate changes in contaminated areas. The present project will also promote an easy and active communication with the society, with the final aim of increasing awareness about climate change and its environmental impacts.


Ana Rita Silva
Rita Silva (PhD) is a biologist specialized in environmental toxicology. She obtained her degree in Biology and Geology (Univ. Aveiro (UAVR), 2009) and she has extensive experience in soil ecotoxicology (MSc in Applied Biology, UAVR, 2011) and aquatic ecotoxicology (PhD in Biology and Ecology of Global Changes, UAVR, 2016). She has worked in different international R&D projects, being research fellow in NanoFARM (ERA Net SIINN) and NanoFASE (H2020) projects, where the effects of nanoparticles were assessed in aquatic and terrestrial mesocosms. In parallel, she has been involved in the R&D project WE-NEED (Water JPI), related to the assessment of the quality of groundwater. Her research interests are mainly focused on terrestrial ecotoxicology (effect on soil invertebrates and plants), climate changes and abiotic/biotic factors interactions and its effects. Currently, she is a researcher at Dept. Biology & CESAM (UAVR) in the context of the R&D project METOXCLIM (FEDER via COMPETE 2020 and National Portuguese Funding FCT), where the goal is to assess how the toxicity and functionality of metal-contaminated soils may be affected by climate change factors. She also participates in the R&D project MICROCLIM (CNRS/INEE via OHMi), where the aim was to assess how microbial populations of Estarreja metal contaminated agricultural soils may be affected by forecasted climate change scenarios. (Co)author of 15 SCI papers (4 as first author) and 30 communications to (inter)national conferences. She has been involved in different outreach activities by disseminating scientific knowledge for (un)specialized audiences (e.g. courses at UAVR, schools visits, science fairs).


María Nazaret
González Alcaraz
María Nazaret González Alcaraz, born in 1983, is graduated in Biology (2006) by the Univ. Murcia (Spain) and MSc (2012) by the Technical Univ. Cartagena –UPCT– (Spain). She obtainer her PhD in 2012 at the UPCT on the dynamic of nitrogen, phosphorus, and metal(loid)s in eutrophic wetlands affected by mine wastes. From 2013 to 2016 (33 months), she worked as Postdoctoral Researcher at the VU Univ. Amsterdam (Holland) in the field of global change soil ecotoxicology. From 2017 to 2020 (38 months), she worked as Assistant Researcher at the Univ. Aveiro (Portugal) in the context of the R&D projects GLOBALTOX (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship) and METOXCLIM (FEDER via COMPETE 2020 and National Portuguese Funding FCT; PI of the project) to deepen in the effects of climate change on the ecotoxicity of anthropogenic metal-polluted soils. From June 2020, she works as Assistant Researcher at the UPCT (Spain) where she leads a research line aiming to unravel how future...
Marija Prodana holds a Degree in Biology (2008) by Univ. Novi Sad (Serbia), MSc in Environmental Studies (2011) by Aalborg Univ. Denmark, Hamburg Univ. Technology Germany, Aveiro Univ. Portugal; fellowship by EU Commission), and PhD in Biology (2018) by Univ. Aveiro –UA (fellowship by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology - FCT). During 2008/2009 she worked in a laboratory for food safety (Ekolab d.o.o. Novi Sad, Serbia). She is currently an assistant researcher at the Dept. Biology & CESAM (UA) within the FCT ECOCENE project, evaluating toxicity, bioaccumulation, and trophic transfer of copper nano-pesticides in soil biota. Her research interests are mainly focused on terrestrial ecotoxicology, soil-biota interactions, contaminant and nutrient leaching, and fate and behavior of nano-materials in soils. Ongoing research activities involve the studies of interactions of plants, invertebrates, and microbiota with nano-pesticides, including evaluation of the plant...
Patrícia V.
Patrícia V. Silva holds a Bachelor Degree in Biology and Geology from the University of Aveiro (UA) (2009), a Master Degree in Applied Biology – Toxicology and Ecotoxicology specialization from the UA (2011), where she worked with soil plants and invertebrates, and a PhD Degree in Biology and Ecology of Global Change (2021) from the UA, where she worked with freshwater species. She has extensive experience in ecotoxicology of both terrestrial and aquatic compartments. She has been a member of several national and international R&D projects, namely the European FP7 project NanoFATE, where the toxicity of nanoparticles in soil and aquatic organisms was investigated and the national project RePULSE, where she continued working with nanoparticles and freshwater organisms. She conducted her PhD within the European project NanoFASE (Horizon 2020), where she gained extensive experience in investigating toxicokinetics, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of nanoparticles in freshwater...
Susana Loureiro is an Assistant Professor with Habilitation at the University of Aveiro. She is graduated in Biology (1997) and MSc in Ecology (2000) by University of Coimbra. She obtained her PhD in 2004 on the assessment of contaminated soils, at University of Aveiro (UAVR). In 2017, she obtained her Habilitation in Biology (UAVR). Her research activities are mainly focused on the effect of combined stressors or chemical mixtures both in environmental or human models. She is also interested on the impact of emergent chemicals as a source of exposure to organisms and humans. Within these thematic she has succeeded on several National funding applications as PI that are boundary areas of research with agricultural sciences: in 2007 the project AGROMIX, on soil mixture toxicity; 2010, CLIMAFUN on the combined effects of abiotic factors and chemicals in soils. Additionally, she has built an international, multidisciplinary network which enabled her to participate in EU FP7 NanoFATE...