Natural History & Systematics - NHS

Plant, lichen and fungi systematics, biogeography & conservation genetics

The “Plant, lichen and fungi systematics, biogeography & conservation genetics” Group includes 10 researchers (integrated members), two holding post-doctoral grants. The group also includes 3 Ph.D. students and 2 collaborators.  The group have active collaboration with other research centres in the world, including Natural History Museums and their scientists.

Research activities are carried out mainly at the “Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência” (MUHNAC), at the “Departamento de Biologia Vegetal” (FCUL) and at “Faculdade de Farmácia” (FFUL).

Member researchers are frequent collaborators of the IUCN Species Survival Commissions and ICNF in Portugal, among other public and private institutions, having participated in the selection of areas, habitats and species with priority for conservation.


Objectives of the sub-group are:

(i) Deepen the systematics and phylogeny of cryptogams (bryophytes, lichens, fungi) and vascular plants in Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean Basin, Macaronesia and Africa;

(ii) Develop research on the biogeography and ecology of these groups in distinct habitats;

(iii) Develop conservation strategies in situ and ex situ fulfilling the targets of GSPC;

(iv) Continuing with the development of ex-situ conservation of Portuguese flora based on seed banking, DNA barcoding and Botanic Garden plantation, especially for rare threatened plant species;

(v) Monitor and model biodiversity through space and time, using flora as global change indicators;

(vi) Evaluate the morphology, anatomy and antimicrobial activity of flora;

(vii) Increase and optimize the reference collections of MNHNC-JB e.g. implement the NatCol consortium (National Consortium for Natural History Collections);

(viii) Develop science promotion and communication non-formal education and public science awareness.