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Genetic structure of urban populations of Centris (Heterocentris) analis Fabricius 1801 (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Centridini).

Grant number: 11/13774-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal researcher:Marco Antonio Del Lama
Grantee:Diego Moure Oliveira
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Bees share with other Hymenoptera haplodiploidy and the mechanism of sex determination. These features restrict the effective size of the population and this reduction is more pronounced in eusocial species. However, the nesting site near to the mother nest by the females of solitary species also restricts the maternal gene flow and cause high population viscosity. Centris (Heterocentris) analis Fabricius 1804 is a solitary bee both found in forest fragments and continuous forests, as well as in urban areas; it is polilectic or generalist in pollen collection. Due to its medium size, it is assumed that this species does not have high dispersal capacity and the available literature reports that the female nests close to the mother nest. These facts lead us to assume that species with similar biological traits have their populations naturally subdivided. This study aims to test the hypothesis that the biology of Centris analis determines strong genetic structuring of their populations when set from mitochondrial genes. On the other hand, to overcome the difficulties arising from a monogenic system of sex determination, it is expected low nuclear gene structure due to asymmetric sex dispersion in this species of bee (colonizing females, dispersing males). Our goal in this study is to validate the first assumption of the working hypothesis. For this, adult males and females of Centris analis collected in urban areas of ten cities in the State of São Paulo when visiting Tecoma stans flowers will be analyzed for two mitochondrial genes in order to estimate the number of female lineages which originated the resident populations in the study sites. This project will allow us to investigate the dispersing role of males in the promotion of interpopulation gene flow by using species-specific microsatellite loci. Studies of this nature in bee species with potential use in the crop pollination are important to diagnose the genetic health of these populations, and from this information, devise strategies to minimize the announced risks of an extinction "vortex" of bee species due to environmental changes caused by human action.

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