Functional Ecology of Plants and Ecosystems
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Twitter: @l_teixeiracosta (Twitter)
My main research interest continues to be the biology of parasitic flowering plants. At the moment I'm focusing on potential effects of global change on the growth and eco-physiology of these plants. In fact, parasitic plants act as keystone species in both natural and human-made environments, where they interact broad range of species beyond their immediate hosts, including pollinators, seed dispersers, soil mycorrhiza, etc. Thus, understanding how these interactions might change under future climate and land use scenarios is quite an important and exciting challenge. At the same time, I continue to explore questions related to how these plants evolved. In this area, I'm specially interested in the development of the haustorium, the organ that connects parasite and host. Here I combine plant anatomy and morphology with many other lines of evidence and tools, such as micro-tomography, to better understand how the haustorium compare to other plant organs.
How Luiza got interested in the botanical sciences:
I only became interested in Botany half-way through my undergraduate. At the time, I was doing my undergrad research in a lab focused on cancer biology. Things changed when I had my first contact with plant anatomy. I was amazed to discover a new world under the microscope! Later on during that class we had a lecture about parasitic flowering plants... and just like that, I was hooked! I finalized the work I was doing in the lab and decided to start a new undergraduate research project working analyzing phenological patterns of mistletoes in urban areas. After that I began working with plant anatomy and integrating that with ecology, physiology, and evolution. Since then, every time I learn a new thing about plants I'm reassured that I made the right decision during my undergrad.
Luiza's advice for those just starting their botanical journey:
Botany is so much more than the academic environment, experiments, and laboratories. Plants have always been a part of our everyday life, as our food, clothing, housing, medicine, and cultural manifestations. We just have to remember we're surrounded by plants, one way or another, and use that as a source of inspiration and motivation.
I'm passionate about museums and the exciting role they play in promoting connections between people and different cultural manifestations. I love traveling to new places and visiting different natural history, as well as arts and culture museums - all the better when I get to do that with my friends and family.
Published Articles in BSA Journals:
Krasylenko, Y., J. Těšitel, (...) L. Teixeira-Costa. 2021. Parasites on parasites: hyper-, epi-, and autoparasitism among flowering plants. American Journal of Botany 108(1): 8–21. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1590
Teixeira-Costa, L., C. C. Davis, and G. Ceccantini. 2021. Striking developmental convergence in angiosperm endoparasites. American Journal of Botany 108(5): 756-768.
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