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Phylogeography of the treefrog Hypsyboas pulchellus: lineage delimitation and testing evolutionary diversification hypotheses in sub-tropical South America

Grant number: 11/16619-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:João Miguel de Barros Alexandrino
Grantee:Luiz Fernando Rocha Ugioni
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas (ICAQF). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Diadema. Diadema , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The understanding of the processes underlying patterns of biological diversity can theoretically be achieved with molecular studies of wild populations that seek to reveal biogeographical histories of species - i.e. Phylogeography. While there are now excellent studies on the evolutionary processes that have determined diversity in several Neotropical regions, much remains unknown about the sub-tropical regions of South America. Our research proposal will focus on studying the phylogeography of an anuran species (the treefrog Hypsiboas pulchellus) widespread in open-area environments of southern Brazil, Argentina, Uruguai and Paraguai, including areas in the biomes of the Atlantic forest, the Pampas, and the Chaco. The main goal will be to examine the hypothesis that H. pulchellus corresponds in fact to multiple evolutionary lineages, which will be pursued by describing and comparing genetic diversity patterns (at the level of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA) in populations throughout the species range. Inferences on the demographic history of the species' populations will also be derived from multilocus genetic data, in order to examine the general hypothesis that sub-tropical species may have suffered more pronounced demographic impacts from past climate fluctuations, when compared to species distributed in tropical regions. The historical biogeography of H. pulchellus, and possible taxonomic implications deriving from the data, will also be discussed in the context of the evolution and biogeography of sub-tropical taxa. (AU)