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Morphological geographic variation in the lizards genus Vanzosaura and Micrablepharus(Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae, Gymnophthalmini) and hypothesis testing with use of potential distribution modeling.

Grant number: 08/07598-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2009
Effective date (End): February 28, 2011
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Applied Zoology
Principal Investigator:Miguel Trefaut Urbano Rodrigues
Grantee:Renato Sousa Recoder
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The study of patterns of geographic variation provides subsidies for understanding the role of microevolutionary mechanisms for differentiation, speciation and adaptation in species. The causes that lead to geographic variation can be summarized in current ecological factors and historic factors. Studies with tropical lizards show the importance of ecological gradients and isolation for the intraspecific morphologic differentiation. Hypothesis about diversification in the neotropical region are numerous. Despite the great biological diversity and environmental heterogeneity in the cis-andean open-habitat areas, this has been underappreciated at the expense of forest formations for studies of differentiation on neotropical fauna. The genera Vanzosaura and Micrablepharus are composed of three phylogenetically related species of microteiid lizards with wide distribution in South American open-habitat formations. Despite the morphological similarity and phylogenetic proximity these genus presents different patterns of habitat use and distribution, what motivates comparative research on patterns of phenotypic differentiation and possible causal mechanisms involved. The objectives of this study are: detect which morphological and color patterns characters varys in Vanzosaura and Micrablepharus, describing how the set of intraspecific variations is distributed geographically and to test which causal hypothesis for the morphological differentiation (alopatric variation or ecological gradients) postulated or obtained through potential distribution modeling can be tested based on correlations with patterns obtained.

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