Hugo Rafael Oliveira

Assistant Researcher

Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB)
Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais
Universidade do Algarve
Campus de Gambelas
8005-139 Faro

  (+351) 289 800 988

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5038-073X

Research Interests

  • Origins of Agriculture
  • Archaeogenomics and Ancient DNA
  • Plant Domestication
  • Evolution of Complex Societies
  • Archaeobotany
  • Archaeological Theory

Short Bio

Ever since childhood I had a passion for both the human past and the living world. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology (University of Minho, Portugal) and specialised in plant molecular biology, working on Arabidopsis reproduction. At this point I discovered the research question that would drive my career: how (and why, oh why?!) did human groups stopped being hunter-gatherers to become farmers? I am interested in the evolutionary dynamics between environment, crop biodiversity and human choices in generating farming cultures.
After an MPhil in Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge (UK), I completed a PhD in the same university using genetic markers to investigate the spread of wheat cultivation in North Africa and Iberia. Since then I have investigated the domestication of rye (at Linköping University, Sweden); the spread of fava bean (CIBIO, University of Porto, Portugal) and used next-generation-sequencing methods to elucidate the domestication of emmer wheat (University of Manchester, UK).
I am currently based at the University of Algarve, conducting my own project (OWLDER), using genomic tools to investigate the domestication of legumes in the Near East (lentil and chickpea) and West Africa (cowpea). I’m also looking at how crops adapted to different environmental settings as they spread into different regions.
Other interests include agricultural resilience and societal collapse, the consilience between natural and social sciences in archaeology and the application of genomics to plant breeding in order to achieve global food security in the face of climate change.

For my complete CV please click HERE

Key Publications

• Hughes, N., Oliveira, H.R., Fradgley, N., Corke, F., Cockram, J., Doonan, J.H. and Nibau, C. (2019). μCT trait analysis reveals morphometric differences between domesticated temperate small grain cereals and their wild relatives. The Plant Journal. Link

• Larsson, P., Oliveira, H.R., Lundström, M., Hagenblad, J., Lagerås, P. and Leino, M.W. (2019). Population genetic structure in Fennoscandian landrace rye (Secale cereale L.) spanning 350 years. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. Link

• Hunt, H.V., Oliveira, H.R., Lister, D.L.L., Clarke, A.C. and Przelomska, N.A.S. (2019). The Geography of Crop Origins and Domestication: Changing Paradigms from Evolutionary Genetics. In Lightfoot E, Fuller DQ and Liu X (eds): Far from the Hearth: Essays in Honour of Martin K Jones. Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs. Link

• Lister, D.L., Jones, H., Oliveira, H.R., Petrie, C.A., Liu, X., Cockram, J., Kneale, C.J., Kovaleva, O. and Jones, M.K. (2018). Barley heads east: Genetic analyses reveal routes of spread through diverse Eurasian landscapes. PLoS ONE 13(7): e0196652. Link

• Monteiro, F., Vidigal, P., Barros, A.B., Monteiro, A., Oliveira, H.R. and Viegas, W. (2016). Genetic distinctiveness of rye in situ accessions from Portugal unveils a new hotspot of unexplored genetic resources. Front. Plant Sci. 7: 1334. Link

• Oliveira, H.R., Tomás, D., Silva, M., Lopes, S., Viegas, W. and Veloso, M.M. (2016). Genetic Diversity and Population Structure in Vicia faba L. Landraces and Wild Related Species Assessed by Nuclear SSRs. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0154801. Link

• Tomás, D., Dias, A.L., Silva, M., Oliveira, H.R., Suso, M.J., Viegas, W. and Veloso, M.M. (2016). Genetic Diversity Assessment of Portuguese Cultivated Vicia faba L. through IRAP Markers. Diversity 8(2): 8

• Hagenblad, J.*, Oliveira, H.R.*, Forsberg, N.E. and Leino, M.W. (2016). Geographical distribution of genetic diversity in Secale landrace and wild accessions. BMC Plant Biology 16: 23 (*these authors contributed equally). Link

• Oliveira, H.R., Hagenblad, J., Leino, M.W., Leigh, F.J., Lister, D.L., Penã-Chocarro, L. and Jones, M.K. (2014). Wheat in the Mediterranean revisited – tetraploid wheat landraces assessed with elite bread wheat Single Nucleotide Polymorphism markers. BMC Genetics 15: 54. Link

• Brown, T.A., Cappellini, E., Kistler, L., Lister, D.L., Oliveira, H.R., Wales, N. and Schlumbaum, A. (2015). Recent advances in ancient DNA research and their implications for archaeobotany. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 24(1): 207-214. Link

• Oliveira, H.R. (2015).  Wheat. In: Mary C. Beaudry and Karen Metheny (eds.) The Archaeology of Food: an encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, USA.

• Oliveira, H.R. (2015). Rye. In: Mary C. Beaudry and Karen Metheny (eds.) The Archaeology of Food: an encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, USA.

• Leigh, F.J., Mackay, I., Oliveira, H.R., Gosman, N.E., Horsnell, R.A., Jones, J., White, J., Powell, W. and Brown, T.A. (2013). Using diversity of the chloroplast genome to examine evolutionary history of wheat species. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60(6): 1831-1842. Link

• Leigh FJ, Oliveira HR, Mackay I, Jones H, Smith L, Wolters P, Charles M, Jones MK, Powell W, Brown TA, Jones G (2013). Remnant genetic diversity detected in an ancient crop: T. dicoccum landraces from Asturias, Spain. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60:355–365. Link

• Oliveira HR, Campana MG, Jones H, Hunt HV, Leigh F, Redhouse DI, Lister DL, Jones MK (2012). Tetraploid wheat landraces in the Mediterranean basin: taxonomy, evolution and genetic diversity. PLoS One 7(5): e37063. Link

• Oliveira HR, Civáň P, Morales J, Rodríguez-Rodríguez A, Lister DL, Jones MK (2012). Ancient DNA in archaeological wheat grains: preservation conditions and the study of pre-Hispanic agriculture on the island of Gran Canaria (Spain). Journal of Archaeological Science 39(4): 828.835. Link

• Oliveira HR, Jones H, Leigh F, DLister DL, Jones MK, Peña-Chocarro L (2011). Phylogeography of einkorn landraces in the Mediterranean basin and Central Europe. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 3:327–341. Link

• Oliveira HR, et al (2011). Phylogeography of cereal landraces and the spread of agriculture in Northwest Africa. In Ahmed G. Fahmy, S. Kahlheber & A.C. D'Andrea (Eds.). Windows on the African Past. Current Approaches to African Archaeobotany. pp. 167-174. Frankfurt. Africa Magna/ Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-937248-32-5. Link

• Oliveira H (2008). Molecular Biology and the Human Past: a theory of archaeogenetics. Archaeological Review from Cambridge Vol. 23.1. Cambridge. Link

• Pereira L, Coimbra S, Oliveira H, , Monteiro L, Sottomayor M (2006). Expression of arabinogalactan protein genes in pollen tubes of Arabidopsis thaliana. Planta, 223(2):374-80. Link


Projects (Participation and Coordination)

• 2019-2024: Old World legumes: domestication, evolution and resilience (OWLDER). PI. Funded by FCT under the CEEC-2017 Call.
• 2014-2019: Life in a cold climate: the adaptation of cereals to new environments and the establishment of agriculture in Europe (ADAPT). PI: Terence A. Brown. Associate Researcher. Funded by FP7-IDEAS of the European Research Council.
• 2015-2017: Reticulated origins of Southwest Asian crops. PI: Terence A. Brown. Associate Researcher. Funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK.
• 2013-2015: “Genomics and Evolutionary Biology” project. Associate Researcher. Co-financed by North Portugal Regional Operational Programme 2007/ 2013 (ON.2 – O Novo Norte), the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
• 2011-2013: Spanish Research Council project ‘Orígenes y expansión de la agricultura en el sur peninsular y norte de Marruecos: aportaciones desde la arqueobotánica y la genética’ HAR2008-09120/HIST. PI: Leonor Peña-Chocarro and Lydia Zapata. Associate Researcher. Funded by the Spanish National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation.
• 2009-2011: ERC project ref 230561 - Origins and spread of agriculture in the south-western Mediterranean region (AGRIWESTMED). PI: Leonor Peña-Chocarro. Research Technician. Funded by the European Research Council.


Grants & Fellowships

• CEEC-2017 – Concurso de Estímulo ao Emprego Cientifico, FCT, Portugal – 6 year contract as Associate Researcher, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal.
• BBSRC- Pilot Experiment Funding for a Phenomics Project at the National Plant Phenomics Centre-Aberystwyth University, October 2016 (£5,000 – 1 year).
• Post-doctoral Stipend, Sven och Lilly Lawskis Fond för Naturvetenskaplig Forskning, May 2012 (480,000 SEK - 2 years).
• Research Fund, KVA Forskningsstipendium, December 2012 (90,000 SEK – 2 years).
• Research Fund, Helge Ax:Son Johnsons Stiftelse. June 2013 (50,000 SEK – 1 year).
• Research Fund, Helge Ax:Son Johnsons Stiftelse. June 2012 (50,000 SEK – 1 year).
• Post-Doctoral Grant, Isaac Newton Trust, March 2011 (£ 8,400 – 1 year).
• Research Technician Grant for the ERC-funded AGRIWESTMED project, September 2010 (15,000€ - 1 year)
• Summer School Participation Grant, EARTH, attributed by the European Research Council. August 2008.
• PhD grant, Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, Ref: (SFRH/BD/21748/2005). January 2006.
• School Merit Award. University of Minho. 2001 and 2002.