Sara Francisco

Post-doctoral fellow



Phone: + 351 21 8811700 (ext. 348)

Fax: + 351 21 8860954

Curriculum vitae

ORCID: 0000-0003-0907-7453

ResearcherID: K-8239-2013

Scopus Author ID: 10839734500




:: Research interests

- Coastal organisms

- Phylogeography 

- Population genetics

- Phylogeny


:: Current research projects

Interannual Fluctuations of the genetic composition: estimates of effective population size of coastal fishes” (Post-Doctoral Research Grant funded by: FCT - SFRH/BPD/84923/2012)

Estimates of variations in the effective population size (Ne) are crucial for both predicting the population’s ability to adapt to future changes, and the effect of over-exploitation or other adverse environmental changes. This work plan intends to continue to characterize the genetic structure of fish populations bordering the Portuguese coast, adding an analysis of temporal variation in genetic structure in the last decade. The species chosen are Lipophrys pholis, Atherina presbyter, Diplodus sargus and Diplodus vulgaris, the latter two subject to commercial exploitation. This project is particularly relevant at a time when climate change and anthropogenic influences acting on marine ecosystems provide even greater emphasis on the genetic monitoring of biodiversity. This approach can be applied to conservation and preservation of biodiversity, in contexts such as stock management of commercial species.


:: Publications


Francisco, SM; Almada, VC; Faria, C; Velasco, EM; Robalo, JI (2014) Phylogeographic pattern and glacial refugia of a rocky shore

species with limited dispersal capability: the case of Montagu’s blenny (Coryphoblennius galerita, Blenniidae). Marine Biology DOI 10.1007/ s00227-014-2523-6. pdf


Francisco, SM; Robalo, JI; Stefanni, S; Levy, A.; Almada, VC (2014) Gaidropsarus (Gadidae, Teleostei) of the North Atlantic: a phylogenetic approach. Journal of Fish Biology. 85: 473-87. doi:10.1111/jfb.12437 pdf


Francisco, SM; Robalo, JI; Levy, A; Almada, VC (2014) In search of phylogeographic patterns in the northeastern Atlantic and adjacent seas. In: Evolutionary biology, Genome, Speciation, Coevolution and Origin of life. Pontarotti, P (Ed). Springer. Chapter 15: 323-338. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-07623-2_15


Hemmer-Hansen, J; Carvalho, G; Bonanomi, S; Castilho, R; Dahle, G; Eero, M; Francisco, S; Helyar, S; Horne, J; Johansen, T; Junge, C; Robalo, R; Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, N; Silva, G; Trautner, J; Volckaert, F; Worsøe Clausen, L; Zelenina, D; Martinsohn, J (2014) Review and consider methods for integrating genomic methods with marine fisheries management (3 - Term of Reference b). In: ICES WGAGFM Report 19-44. pdf


Sousa-Santos, C; Robalo, JI; Francisco, SM; Carrapato, C; Cardoso, AC; Doadrio, I (2014) Metapopulations in temporary streams - the role of drought-flood cycles in promoting high genetic diversity in a critically endangered freshwater fish and its consequences for the future. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.08.007 pdf


Robalo, JI; Lima, CS; Francisco, SM; Almada, F; Bañon, R; Villegas-Ríos, D; Almada, VC (2014) Phylogeography of the fivebeard rockling (Ciliata mustela, Linnaeus, 1758): a possible candidate fish to monitor climate change impact on genetic population structure. Journal of Phylogenetics and Evolutionary Biology. 2: 123. doi: 10.4172/2329-9002.1000123


Robalo, J.I., Crespo, A.M., Castilho, R., Francisco, S.M., Amorim, M.C., Almada, V.C. 2013. Are local extinctions and recolonizations continuing at the colder limits of marine fish distributions? Halobatrachus didactylus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) a possible candidate. Mar. Biol. 160, 2461-2467. DOI: 10.1007/s00227-013-2241-5 pdf


Almada VC, Almada F, Francisco SM, Castilho R, Robalo JI. 2012. Unexpected high genetic diversity at the extreme Northern geographic limit of Taurulus bubalis (Euphrasen, 1786). PLoS One 7(8): e44404. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044404 pdf


Almada VC, Francisco SM, Rosa I, Domingues V, Cabral H, Almada F, Henriques M, Robalo JI. 2012. A rapid and inexpensive molecular technique to discriminate the north-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Atherina species and its potential applications in ecology and larval identification. Biologia 67(5): 988-991. DOI: 10.2478/s11756-012-0087-9 pdf


Robalo JI, Castilho R, Francisco SM, Almada F, Knutsen H, Jorde PE, Pereira AM, Almada VC. 2012. Northern refugia and recent expansion in the North Sea: the case of the wrasse Symphodus melops (Linnaeus, 1758). Ecology and Evolution 2(1): 153-164. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.77 pdf


Francisco SM, Faria C, Lengkeek W, Vieira MN, Velasco EM, Almada VC. 2011. Phylogeography of the shanny Lipophrys pholis (Pisces: Belnniidae) in the NE Atlantic records signs of major expansion event older than the last glaciation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 403: 14-20. pdf


Francisco SM, Gongiu L, von der Heyden S, Almada VC. 2011. Multiloculs phylogenetic analysis of the genus Atherina(Pisces: Atherinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 71-78. pdf


Francisco SM, Castilho R, Soares M, Congiu L, Brito A, Vieira MN, Almada VC. 2009. Phylogeography and demographic history of Atherina presbyter (Pisces: Atherinidae) in the North-eastern Atlantic based on mitochondrial DNA. Marine Biology 156: 1421-1432. (DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1182-5).  


Francisco SM, Congiu L, Stefanni S, Castilho R, Brito A, Ivanova PP, Levy A, Cabral H, Kilias G, Doadrio I, Almada VC. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean forms of Atherina (Pisces, Atherinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 782-788.   


Francisco SM, Cabral H, Vieira MN, Almada VC. 2006. Contrasts in genetic structure and historical demography of marine and riverine populations of Atherina at similar geographical scales. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 69: 655-661.


Francisco SM, Vieira MN, Almada VC. 2006. Genetic structure and historical demography of the shanny Lipophrys pholis in the Portuguese coast based on mitochondrial DNA analysis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 39(1): 288-292. 


Paula J, Silva IC, Francisco SM, Flores A. 2006. The use of artificial benthic collectors for assessment of spatial patterns of settlement of megalopae of Carcinus maenas (L.) (Brachyura, Portunidae) in the lower Mira Estuary, Portugal. Hydrobiologia. 557:69–77


Queiroga H, Almeida MJ, Alpuim T, Flores A, Francisco S, González-Gordillo I, Miranda AI, Silva I, Paula J. 2006. Tide and wind control of megalopal supply to estuarine crab populations on the Portuguese west coast. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 307: 21-36. 


Silva IC, Dinis AM, Francisco SM, Paula J. 2006. Longitudinal distribution and lateral pattern of megalopal settlement and juvenile recruitment of Carcinus maenas (L.) (Brachyura, Portunidae) in Mira river estuary, Portugal. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 69:179-188.



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