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Harold Lisle Gibbs | Ohio State University - United States

Grant number: 05/01793-8
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: November 07, 2005 - November 19, 2005
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal researcher:Pedro Manoel Galetti Junior
Grantee:Pedro Manoel Galetti Junior
Visiting researcher: Harold Lisle Gibbs
Visiting researcher institution: Ohio State University, Columbus, United States
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


In the last few years, the widespread use of molecular genetic techniques has shown many cases of bird population structuring in relatively small geographic scales. The limited amount of data available for Neotropical birds has been enough to demonstrate a higher population structuring in these animals if compared to the species from temperate regions, probably because the prior ones are more sedentary. Substantial levels of genetic divergence were found among populations of different Amazonian passerine birds that were separated by distances varying from 350 to 1500 km, even within apparently continuous habitats. Besides, the processes of divergent natural selection along gradients of habitats (such as transitions between dry and rainy forests, or between forests and savanna), even in the absence of significant geographic isolation, has proved to be an important factor promoting genetic and morphological diversification among the vertebrates that are widely distributed in the tropics.The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is one of the five most important hotspots on earth, presenting not only an exceptional concentration of species, many of them endemic, but also an extensive loss of habitats. It was originally one of the largest north-south tropical forests in the world, covering an area of approximately 1 million km2. As expected for such a widely distributed ecosystem, it holds climatic and floristic variations, being basically subdivided into semideciduous forests and coastal rainy forests. In spite of the drastic devastation, very little is known about the genetic structure of animal populations along this ecosystem. Furthermore, there is no information on the proportion of this genetic diversity that may be lost due to the devastation processes.Thus far, the objective of this project is to invite Dr. H. Lisle Gibbs, an internationally recognized researcher in the field of population genetics and conservation genetics of birds, to visit the Departamento de Genética e Evolução, from UFSCar, as a visiting researcher. Dr. Gibbs has played an important contribution to the understanding of the micro-evolutionary processes involved in the diversification of North American birds, as well as from other regions of the planet, making use specially of mtDNA and microsatellite markers.He has actively participating of a doctorate project that is already supported by FAPESP (Ref. Proc. FAPESP 01/12972-0), which major objective is testing the existence of population structuring in a passerine bird, Chiroxiphia caudata (Aves, Pipridae), along the largest remaining Atlantic forest corridor. The contribution of Dr. Gibbs was very important for the isolation of 11 microsatellite loci for this species, which resulted in a publication in the international journal Molecular Ecology Notes.During the visit, Dr. Gibbs is going to participate of the elaboration of the experimental design of a new project that will be submitted to FAPESP afterwards. The major objective of this project will be comparing populations of different bird species distributed along the coastal rainy forests and semideciduous Atlantic forests in São Paulo state.Furthermore, the visiting researcher is invited to talk three lectures in a course on Conservation Genetics in the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Evolução, at UFSCar. Dr. Gibbs is also invited by Sociedade Brasileira de Genética to present a conference, as well as participating of a symposium on Vertebrates Conservation Genetics, during the 51º. Congresso Brasileiro de Genética. He will also spend one week at the Laboratório de Biodiversidade Molecular e Citogenética, in our department, working with teachers and students and exchanging his knowledge on Conservation Genetics, methods of genetic variation measurements and potential use of barcodes for species, using the mitochondrial gene COI. (AU)

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