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Contrasting driving mechanisms of diversification in Neotropical and megadiverse floras: case studies in Sauvagesieae (Ochnaceae) and Theobromeae (Malvaceae)

Grant number: 20/10206-9
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: August 01, 2021 - July 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Plant Taxonomy
Principal researcher:José Rubens Pirani
Grantee:José Rubens Pirani
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Regions with high levels of species richness and endemism in the globe have called major attention of scientists for at least two centuries. The Neotropics is the most representative region in these terms, comprising a "giant puzzle" of different heterogeneous environments, each one with a set of endemic species that have arisen as consequence of both geological and short-time scale drivers. Currently, there is a robust set of analytical methods in molecular systematics that allow to generate large phylogenies depicting the natural history of lineages and including an explicit spatio-temporal context in which micro and macroevolutionary processes could be assessed. The main goal of this project is to contribute to the knowledge on the evolutionary history of the Neotropical biota, by means of two PhD theses that assesses diversification dynamics and speciation modes in two eudicot tribes from the most contrasting megadiverse regions: Sauvagesieae (Ochnaceae), mainly occurring in the Guyana highlands and Brazilian campo rupestre, and Theobromeae (Malvaceae), native from the Amazonian terra-firme forests. In Sauvagesieae, generating DNA sequencing towards inferring a phylogeny at tribe level will serve as subsidy to estimate diversification dynamics (i.e. speciation and extinction rates) among tribe lineages. Conversely, in Theobromeae, DNA sequencing of individuals of populations of selected species will enable downstream analyses of genetic structure and speciation modes at specific and populational levels. Both groups are rich in endemic taxa, and phenotypic traits will be associated to their genomic data. Besides the formation of two graduate students, who will be the the main investigators of this grant, this proposal will lead to the production of at least four manuscripts to be submitted on high impact journals. These studies are expected to elucidate diversification processes in two Neotropical lineages, under distinct but complimentary approaches, and from contrasting geographical regions: one at tribal level and prevailing on montane environments, and another one at population levels on rainforests. (AU)

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