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Integrating evolution, biogeography, and ecology to understand biodiversity patterns in the Atlantic Forest

Grant number: 22/04012-2
Support Opportunities:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2022 - October 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Principal Investigator:Fernando Rodrigues da Silva
Grantee:Fernando Rodrigues da Silva
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias para a Sustentabilidade (CCTS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Sorocaba , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Alexandre Marcos Antonelli ; Ana Carolina Oliveira de Queiroz Carnaval ; Diogo Borges Provete


Understanding how speciation, extinction, and dispersal shaped the distribution and diversity of extant species in the Neotropics has been one of the most intriguing topics in ecology and biogeography. Although the Atlantic Forest is among the most species-rich rainforests in the world, studies integrating evolutionary, biogeographical, and ecological approaches to address the underlying processes that explain its astonishing biodiversity are still at an early stage. Here, I propose to integrate hypotheses and methods from multiple disciplines to improve our understanding of processes shaping terrestrial vertebrate diversity patterns (birds, frogs, mammals, and squamates) in the Atlantic Forest, across hierarchical spatial scales. For that, I propose two main goals: i) to delimit biogeographic regions using state-of-the-art algorithms and standardized spatial resolution; and ii) to use evolutionary and biogeographic approaches to estimate diversification rate and dispersal across geographical regions over time. This is an innovative project because it integrates approaches and theories from distinct disciplines (evolutionary biology, biogeography, and environmental sciences) to understand how Atlantic Forest biodiversity emerged and how it varies in space and time. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the formation of graduate and undergraduate students, establish an international collaboration network, and increase the national and international recognition of the Laboratório de Ecologia Teórica: Integrando Tempo, Biologia e Espaço (LET.IT.BE). (AU)

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