Departamental II – DII. 217
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles (Madrid)

Phone: +34 91 488 8288
Fax:      +34 91 664 7490
E-mail: nieves.martín at

Short CV

2004-2010 Degree in Biology, Universidad de Granada

2011-2012 Technician, Area of Biodiversity and Conservation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

2012 MsC in Social Studies in Scicence and Technology, Universidad de Salamanca

Research lines

Supervisor: Rubén Milla Gutiérrez.

Title: “Changes in ecological strategy of plants as a response to domestication”.

When we study the “domestication syndrome” in plants, we are told that years of artificial selection have resulted in ideal varieties for the agronomic purpose pursued. Thus, we have obtained plants with larger fruits, higher production rates, more succulent leaves… But are we aware of all the traits that have evolved during this process?

The typical benign environment of anthropic media (orchard) could have relaxed the selection of certain features of the plant, leading it to adopt new ecological strategies. Our group aims to explore a part of the phenomenon of domestication that has remained in the shade, namely, the traits that have not been selected voluntarily.

My PhD thesis, framed in this project, focuses on the interactions between the plant and the soil microorganisms. To be able to study these questions, we rely on pairs of plant species consisting in the cultivar variety and its wild relative (current wild species phylogenetically closest to the crop variety). We work in common gardens, adding the relevant microorganisms in each experiment. We plan to work with mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria.


Martín-Robles, N.; Lehmann, A.; Seco, A.; Aroca, R.; Rillig, M. C.; Milla, R. (2018). Impacts of domestication on the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis of 27 crop species. New Phytologist 218: 322-334.

García-Palacios, P.; Milla, R.; Delgado-Baquerizo, M.; Martín-Robles, N.; Álvaro-Sánchez, M.; Wall, D. H. (2013). Side-effects of plant domestication: ecosystem impacts of changes in litter quality. New Phytologist 198: 504-513.  PDF (see commentary by Cornwell & Cornelissen)

García-Palacios, P.; Milla, R.; Álvaro-Sánchez, M.; Martín-Robles, N.; Maestro, M. (2013). Application of a high-throughput laboratory method to assess litter decomposition rates in multiple-species experiments. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 57: 929-932. PDF

Milla, R.; de Diego-Vico, N.; Martín-Robles, N.(2013). Shifts in stomatal traits following the domestication of plant species. Journal of Experimental Botany 64: 3137-3146. PDF