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Brazilian canids in an anthropized world: niche partitioning based on finite element analysis

Grant number: 20/12786-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2021 - January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Felipe Chinaglia Montefeltro
Grantee:Felipe Chinaglia Montefeltro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia (FEIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Ilha Solteira. Ilha Solteira , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Fernanda Cavalcanti de Azevedo ; Frederico Gemesio Lemos ; Mariela Cordeiro de Castro

Abstract

The Brazilian canids show various feeding habits that include insectivory, omnivory, and hypercarnivory, and some species have overlapped distributions. For those reasons, the group is an exquisite model for studies that seek to understand how different diets relate to morphofunctional specializations, how sympatric species explore and possibly partition environmental resources, or how key biological parameters relate to the extinction risk in a progressively anthropized world. Yet, no quantitative approach has been used so far to address those questions. This project aims to employ finite element analysis (FEA) to compare the craniomandibular and dental biomechanical performances of the six Brazilian species of canids. This technique, initially applied to engineering, is progressively being used in biological studies of many scopes due to the ability to simulate the reactions of biological materials in silico, under intrinsic and extrinsic scenarios, in a tridimensional environment. In the current context of biodiversity loss, our project fills a gap in the knowledge of a clade that encompasses three of the least studied, and threatened of extinction, canids of the world. In this sense, besides concatenating the complementary expertise of the proponents, this project combines basic science and cutting-edge technology, providing new tools for conservation actions on Brazilian canids. (AU)