Palacio Blasco, Sara

Palacio Blasco, Sara

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Ramón y Cajal Researcher


 I am interested in understanding how plants adjust their form (morphology) and function (phenology, nitrogen and carbon cycling) to the environmental conditions where they grow (environmental stress, climate and disturbances). To address these issues, I follow a functional approach, looking at a combination of ecophysiological, phenological and morphological aspects at the whole-plant level. Most of my research has focused on the analysis of woody plants alone, but I am now trying to integrate plant interactions with other elements of the ecosystem such as the soil biota, fungi, lichens and animals. My main research lines can be summarized as:

Plant pheno-morphology: up to what point is bud morphology related to climate, phylogeny and allometry? Can we improve plant functional trait classifications by including plant developmental information?


Plant response to disturbance: How are plant architecture, growth and carbon and nutrient cycling affected by disturbances (herbivory, erosion, fire)?


Carbon cycling in woody plants: Is tree growth limited by carbon availability? What is the functional role of non-structural C pools in woody plants?


Plant adaptation to gypsum soils: How do plants from gypsum soil cope with the extreme nutrient and water scarcity of gypsum soils? more information in this link






  • ≈ Martínez-Vilalta J., Sala A., Asensio M.D., Lloret F., Galiano L., Hoch G., Palacio S., Piper F. 2016. Dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in terrestrial plants: a global synthesis. Ecological Monographs (in press) DOI: 10.1002/ecm.1231

  • ≈ Anadon-Rosell, A., Palacio S., Nogués S., Ninot J.M. 2016. Vaccinium myrtillus stands show similar structure and functioning under different scenarios of coexistence at the Pyrenean treeline. Plant Ecology (in press) DOI: 10.1007/s11258-016-0637-2

  • ≈ Bolukbasi A.; Kurt L.; Palacio S. (2016) Unraveling the mechanisms for plant survival on gypsum soils: an analysis of the chemical composition of gypsum plants from Turkey. Plant Biology 18: 271-279

  • ≈ Quentin A.G., Pinkard E.A., Ryan M.G., Tissue D. T., Baggett L.S., Adams H.D., Maillard P., Marchand J., Lanhäusser S.M., Lacointe A., Gibon Y., Anderegg W.R.L., Asao S., Atkin O.K., Bonhomme M., Claye C., Chow P.S., Clément-Vidal A., Davies N.W., Dickman L.T., Dumbur R., Falk K., Galiano L., Grünzweig J.M., Hartmann H., Hoch G., Jones J.E., Koike T., Kuhlmann I., Lloret F., Maestro M., Mansfield S., Martínez-Vilalta J., Maucourt M., McDowell N.G., Moing A., Muller B., Nebauer S.G., Niinemets Ü., Palacio S., Piper F., Raveh E., Richter A., Rolland G., Rosas T., Saint Joanis B., Sala A., Smith R.A., Sterck F., Stinziano J.R., Tobias M., Unda F., Watanabe M., Way D.A., Weerasinghe L., Wild B., Woodruff D.R. (2015) Non -structural carbohydrates in woody plants compared among laboratories. Tree Physiology 35: 1146-1165

  • ≈ Martín-Gómez P, Barbeta A, Voltas J, Peñuelas J, Dennis K, Palacio S, Dawson TE, Ferrio JP. (2015) Isotope-Ratio Infrared Spectroscopy: a reliable tool for the investigation of plant-water sources?. New Phytologist 207: 914–927, DOI: 10.1111/nph.13376

  • ≈ Palacio S., Lenz A., Wipf S., Hoch G., Rixen C. (2015) Bud freezing resistance in alpine Ericaceae dwarf shrubs across snow depth gradients. Environmental Experimental Botany 118: 95-101

  • ≈ Palacio S., Escudero A. (2014) What makes a topic “relevant” to journal editors? Ideas in Ecology and Evolution (in press)

  • ≈ Palacio S., Aitkenhead M., Escudero A., Montserrat-Martí G., Maestro M., Robertson A. H. J. (2014) Gypsophile chemistry unveiled: Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy provides new insight into plant adaptation to gypsum soils. PLoS ONE 9: e107285

  • ≈ Palacio S., Azorín J., Montserrat-Martí G., Ferrio J.P. (2014) The crystallization water of gypsum rocks is a relevant water source for plants. Nature Communications 5:4660 doi: 10.1038/ncomms5660

  • ≈ Palacio S., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G. 2014 Differential N cycling in semi-arid sub-shrubs with contrasting leaf habit. PLoS ONE 9: e93184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093184

  • ≈ Escudero A., Palacio S., Maestre F.T., Luzuriaga A.L. 2014. Plant life on gypsum: an overview of its multiple facets. Biological Reviews DOI: 10.1111/brv.12092

  • ≈ Palacio S., Hoch G., Sala A., Körner C., Millard P. 2014. Does carbon storage limit tree growth? New Phytologist 201: 1096-1100.

  • ≈ Barrio I.C., Bueno C.G., Nagy L., Palacio S., Grau O., Munilla I., García M.B., García-Cervigón A.I., Gartzia M., Gazol A., Lara-Romero C., Anadón-Rosell A., Ninot J.M., Chocarro C., Alados C.L., Fillat F., Zamora R. 2013. Alpine ecology in the Iberian Peninsula: what do we know and what do we need to learn? Mountain Research and Development 33: 437-442.

  • ≈ Alla A.Q., Camarero J.J., Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí G. 2013. The fate of buds revisited: bud mortality and bursting depend on bud size. Trees – Structure and Function 27: 1375-1386.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Bueno C. G., Azorín J., Maestro M., Gómez-García D. 2013. Wild boar disturbance increases nutrient and C stores of geophytes in subalpine grasslands. American Journal of Botany 100: 1790-1799.

  • ≈ Camarero J.J., Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí G. Contrasting temporal overlaps between primary and secondary seasonal growth patterns are linked to wood anatomy in Mediterranean sub-shrubs. 2013 Plant Biology 15: 798-807.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Hester A., Maestro M., Millard P. 2013 Simulated browsing affects leaf shedding phenology and litter quality of oak and birch saplings. Tree Physiology 33:438-445.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Hernández R., Maestro M., Camarero J.J. 2012 Fast replenishment of initial C stores after defoliation by the pine processionary moth and its relationship to the re-growth ability of trees. Trees - Structure and Function 26:1627–1640.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Johnson D., Escudero A., Montserrat-Martí G. 2012. Root colonization by AM fungi differs between gypsum specialist and non-specialist plants: links to the gypsophile behaviour. Journal of Arid Environments 76: 128-132.

  • ≈ Brüggemann N., Buchmann N., Gessler A., Kayler Z., Keel S., Knohl A., Barthel M., Boeckx P., Gavrichkova O., Ghashghaie J., Gomez-Casanovas N., Keitel C., Kuptz D., Palacio S., Salmon Y., Uchida Y. 2011. Carbon allocation and carbon isotope fluxes in the plant-soil-atmosphere continuum: a review. Biogeosciences 8: 3457-3489.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Paterson E., Sim A., Hester A., Millard P. 2011. Browsing affects intra-ring carbon allocation in species with contrasting wood anatomy. Tree Physiology. 31: 150-159.

  • ≈ Montserrat-Martí G., Palacio S., Milla R., Giménez-Benavides L. 2011. Meristem growth, phenology, and architecture in chamaephytes of the Iberian Peninsula: insights into a largely neglected life form. Folia Geobotanica. 46: 117-136.

  • ≈ Montserrat-Martí G, Camarero J.J., Palacio S., Pérez-Rontomé C., Milla R., Albuixech J., Maestro M. 2009. Summer-drought constrains on the phenology and growth of two co-existing Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit: implications for their persistence and reproduction. Trees - Structure and Function 23:787–799.

  • ≈ S. Paula, M. Arianoutsou, D. Kazanis, F. Lloret, C. Buhk, F. Ojeda, B. Luna, J.M. Moreno, A. Rodrigo, J.M. Espelta, S. Palacio, B. Fernández-Santos, P.M. Fernandes J.G. Pausas. 2009. Fire related traits for plant species of the Mediterranean Basin. Ecology 90: 1420.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Milla R., Albuixech J., Pérez-Rontomé C., Camarero J.J., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G. 2008. Seasonal variability of dry matter content and its relationship with shoot growth and non-structural carbohydrates. New Phytologist. 180: 133-142.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Hester A., Maestro M., Millard P. 2008. Browsed Betula pubescens trees are not carbon-limited. Functional Ecology. 22: 808-815.

  • ≈ Guerrero-Campo J., Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí G. 2008. Plant traits enabling survival in Mediterranean badlands in northeastern Spain suffering from soil erosion. Journal of Vegetation Science. 19:457-464.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Escudero A., Milla R., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G., Albert M.J. 2007. Plants living on gypsum: beyond the specialist model. Annals of Botany. 99: 333-343.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Millard P., Maestro, M., Montserrat-Marti. G. 2007. Non-structural carbohydrates and nitrogen dynamics in Mediterranean sub-shrubs: an analysis of the functional role of overwintering leaves. Plant Biology. 9: 49-58.

  • ≈ Milla R., Palacio S., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G. 2007. Leaf exchange in a Mediterranean shrub: water, nutrients, non-structural carbohydrate and osmolyte dynamics. Tree Physiology. 27: 951-960.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G. 2007. Relationship between shoot-rooting and root sprouting abilities and the carbohydrate and nitrogen reserves of Mediterranean dwarf shrubs. Annals of Botany. 100: 865–874.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí G. 2007. Above and belowground phenology of four Mediterranean sub-shrubs. Preliminary results on root-shoot competition. Journal of Arid Environments. 68: 522-533.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Maestro M., Montserrat-Martí G. 2007. Seasonal dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in two species of Mediterranean sub-shrubs with different leaf phenology. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 59: 34-42

  • ≈ Palacio S., Millard P., Montserrat-Marti. G. 2006. Aboveground biomass allocation patterns within Mediterranean sub-shrubs: a quantitative analysis of seasonal dimorphism. Flora. 201: 612-622.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí G. 2006. Comparison of the bud morphology and shoot growth dynamics of four species of Mediterranean sub-shrubs growing along an altitudinal gradient. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 151: 527-539.

  • ≈ Guerrero-Campo J., Palacio S., Pérez-Rontomé C., Montserrat-Martí G. 2006. Effect of root system morphology on root-sprouting and shoot-rooting abilities in 123 plant species from eroded lands in north-east Spain. Annals of Botany, 98: 439-447.

  • ≈ Milla, R., Palacio, S., Maestro-Martínez, M., Montserrat-Martí, G. 2006. Phosphorus accretion in old leaves of a Mediterranean shrub growing at a phosphorus-rich site. Plant and Soil, 280: 369-372.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Milla R., Montserrat-Martí G. 2005. A phenological hypothesis on the thermophilous distribution of Pistacia lentiscus L. Flora, 200: 527-534.

  • ≈ Palacio S., Montserrat-Martí, G. 2005. Bud morphology and shoot growth dynamics in two species of Mediterranean sub-shrubs co-existing in gypsum outcrops. Annals of Botany, 95: 949-958.







  • ≈ GIPSOFILIA: ¿Cómo viven las plantas en los suelos de yeso? Mecanismos adaptativos de plantas vasculares para la vida en el yeso (CGL2015-71360-P)
    Entidad financiadora: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.
    Duración: enero 2016 diciembre 2019
    IP: Sara Palacio

  • ≈ Drinking rocks? An evaluation of the ability of plants to use structural water from gypsum (4711 / 5749)
    Entidad financiadora: British Ecological Society.
    Duración: desde diciembre 2013 hasta diciembre 2014
    IP: Sara Palacio.

  • ≈ Seguimiento de la diversidad florística en las cumbres del Pirineo aragonés.
    Entidad financiadora: Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses
    Duración: desde noviembre 2013 hasta octubre 2014
    IP: Olatz Fernández Arberas

  • ≈ Arbustos de alta montaña: entender su biología nos permite prever la matorralización (ARBALMONT). Referencia: 786-2012.
    Entidad financiadora: Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales (OAPN), Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente.
    Duración desde: diciembre 2012 hasta diciembre 2015
    IP: Gabriel Montserrat Martí.

  • ≈ Análisis de las principales fuentes de agua utilizadas por plantas de suelos yesosos
    Entidad financiadora: Ayuda a proyectos de investigación en ecología liderados por jóvenes investigadores de la Asociación Española de Ecología Terrestre (AEET) 2012.
    Duración: desde enero 2013 hasta diciembre 2013
    IP: Sara Palacio

  • ≈ IBERSUMMIT: El futuro de la flora alpina tras 100 años de seguimiento.
    Entidad financiadora: Programa Felix de Azara, Diputación Provincial de Huesca
    Duración: desde enero 2013 hasta diciembre 2013
    IP: Mª Jesus Herreros Ibáñez.

  • ≈ Caracterización funcional de especies leñosas en relación con sus atributos del xilema e implicaciones para las respuestas de la xilogénesis al calentamiento climático. XILVA. (CGL2011-26654).
    Entidad financiadora: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
    Duración desde: octubre 2011 hasta: sep 2014
    IP: Dr. Jesús Julio Camarero Martínez

  • ≈ Los caracteres funcionales como herramienta para la conservación de las comunidades vegetales y la predicción de sus cambios: aplicación a un gradiente ecológico altitudinal en un hotspot de biodiversidad mediterránea – FUNVEG – (Participación)
    Entidad financiadora: Plan Nacional I+D+I
    Duración desde octubre 2010 hasta: sep 2013.
    IP: Dra. Teresa Navarro del Águila

  • ≈ Mecanismos de uso del agua y los nutrientes de las plantas de los yesos de la Depresión Media del Ebro. Bases para un uso sostenible del territorio. (Participación).
    Entidad financiadora: DGA – La Caixa.
    Entidades participantes: IPE.
    Duración desde enero de 2009 hasta: enero de 2011.
    IP: Gabriel Montserrat-Martí.