Research Lab


Research Interests

Environmental Biochemistry and Toxicology: organisms exposed to contaminants in aquatic environments (e.g. xenoestrogens, emerging compounds, metals and other elements). Environmental Proteomics. Biomarkers. Oxidative stress in organisms exposed to pollutants. Climate change effects on marine biota. Immunobiology; Nanotoxicology. Food Toxicology. We use toxicity data to study the mechanisms and effects of contaminants and other environmental stressors on animals physiology and cellular biochemical processes. Our main foci of research are: 1. Effects of xenoestrogens on organisms; 2. The use of biomarkers of response and effect (e.g. proteins, antioxidant enzymes); 3. Identification of proteins of interest, using proteomic methodologies, following exposure to environmental stressors; 4. Development of biosensors and immunoassays for food quality assessment.

Research Highlights
Negative synergistic impacts of ocean warming and acidification on the survival and proteome of the commercial sea bream, Sparus aurata

We tested the effect of warming and acidification in, the gilthead seabream. Juvenile fish were exposed to control (C 18 °C pH 8), ocean warming (OW 22 °C pH 8), ocean acidification (OA 18 °C pH 7.5) and ocean warming and acidification (OWA 22 °C pH 7.5). OA and both OWA induced greater proteome changes when compared to OW alone, suggesting that pH is central to proteome modulation. OA exposure led to increased glycogen degradation, glycolysis, lipid metabolism, anion homeostasis, cytoskeletal remodeling, immune processes and redox based signaling while decreasing ADP metabolic process. OWA led to increased lipid metabolism, glycogen degradation, glycolysis, cytoskeleton remodeling and decreased muscle filament sliding. The negative synergistic effects of OW and OA on fish survival coupled to the mobilization of storage compounds, enhancement in anaerobic pathways and impaired proteasomal degradation could pose a serious threat to the viability of sea bream populations.(J. Sea Res., 2018).













Negative synergistic impacts of ocean warming and acidification on the survival and proteome of the commercial sea bream, Sparus aurata










General and detailed functional categorization of identified proteins and two-way hierarchical clustering analysis of proteome data from S.aurata.

Thermal stress and energy metabolism in two circumtropical decapod crustaceans: Responses to acute temperature events

Thermal stress and energy metabolism in two circumtropical decapod crustaceans: Responses to acute temperature eventsWe examined the effects of a laboratory simulated heat wave on the physiology and performance of two Indo-Pacific crustacean species: Rhynchocinetes durbanensis and Calcinus laevimanus, exposed to a control temperature or to a +5°C (25 °C vs 30 °C) for two consecutive weeks, and weekly analyzed protective proteins, antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxides in muscle and visceral mass. Biomarker responses in both species occurred mostly after 7 days of exposure and temperature stress led to an increase in biomarker levels. The integrated biomarker indices suggested poorer health status in individuals subjected to the heat wave. We concluded that these species are capable of physiological adjustments in response to rapid environmental changes, which ultimately confers them with enough thermal tolerance to withstand this simulated heat wave without major consequences for fitness.

Representative Projects

  • “PAHMIX-Mixtures of Environmental Carcinogens: a molecular approach to improve environmental risk assessment strategies”, FCT-MCTES, Total and Unit funding: €238,296 Mário Diniz (co-PI)
  • “3Qs for Quality – Development of molecular sensors and technologies for seafood quality”, FCT-MCTES, Total funding: €197,948, Unit funding: €90,260, Mário Diniz (PI)
  • “Multifunctional study of xylem-sap Portuguese olive cultivars and its relation with susceptibility to infection by Xylella fastidiosa”, FCT-MCTES,Total funding: €199,991, Unit funding: €18,900 , Mário Diniz (Collaborator)
  • “AMBIEnCE-Impact of atmospheric multi-stressors to coastal marine systems in a changing climate scenario”, Total funding: €226,076, Unit funding: €10,000, Mário Diniz (Collaborator)
  • “Of pigments and toxins an integrative approach to the biotechnological potential of a marine polychaete”, FCTMCTES, Total funding: €199,398, Unit funding: €7,500, Mário Diniz (Collaborator)

Selected Publications

Madeira, D; Araujo, JE; Vitorino, R; Costa, PM; Capelo, JL; Vinagre, C; Diniz, MS. 2017. Molecular Plasticity under Ocean Warming: Proteomics and Fitness Data Provides Clues for a Better Understanding of the Thermal Tolerance in Fish. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00825
Madeira, C; Mendonca, V; Leal, MC; Flores, AAV; Cabral, HN; Diniz, MS; Vinagre, C. 2017. Thermal stress, thermal safety margins and acclimation capacity in tropical shallow waters-An experimental approach testing multiple end-points in two common fish. ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, 81, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.05.050
Maulvault, AL; Barbosa, V; Alves, R; Custodio, A; Anacleto, P; Repolho, T; Ferreira, PP; Rosa, R; Marques, A; Diniz, M. 2017. Ecophysiological responses of juvenile seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) exposed to increased temperature and dietary methylmercury. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 586, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.02.016
Madeira, D; Vinagre, C; Mendonca, V; Diniz, MS. 2017. Seasonal changes in stress biomarkers of an exotic coastal species Chaetopleura angulata (Polyplacophora) - Implications for biomonitoring. MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, 120, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.05.005
Madeira, C; Madeira, D; Diniz, MS; Cabral, HN; Vinagre, C. 2017. Comparing biomarker responses during thermal acclimation: A lethal vs non-lethal approach in a tropical reef clownfish. COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY A-MOLECULAR & INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY, 204, DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2016.11.018