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Molecular phylogeny and historical biogeography of Apteronotidae (Ostariophysi, Gymnotiformes)

Grant number: 12/09990-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): December 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Claudio de Oliveira
Grantee:Victor Alberto Tagliacollo
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Apteronotidae is the most species-rich family of the order Gymnotiformes, with 86 species currently allocated to 15 genera, and many more undescribed species known in museum collections. Apteronotids inhabit most of the major river basins of tropical South America, from the La Plata estuary to the Pacific drainages of Panamá. Popularly known as ghost knifefishes (sarapó), apteronotids generate weak (millivolt) electric discharge for use in navigation and communication. Aspects of this electric signal are unique to each species, and therefore provide a convenient means for identifying species boundaries and establishing the alpha taxonomy. Apteronotids are exceptional in possessing electric signals with ultra-high frequencies; some species of Magosternarchus discharge at 2,000 Hz, which is the fastest known biological oscillator on Earth. As a result Apteronotidae has been the subject of extensive neurophysiological and behavioral studies, and our understanding of biodiversity within this group is increasing exponentially. Nonetheless, phylogenetic relationships remain poorly known, and current hypotheses based largely on parsimony are poorly supported. Thus, our major goals are to: (1) generate a species-dense molecular phylogeny of the family Apteronotidae in order to test the monophyly of the group and recover relationships within and among genera using a broad taxon sampling and a multigene dataset; (2) investigate and generate hypotheses of historical biogeography to assess the roles of speciation, extinction, and (geo)dispersal events in the origin of the Amazonian apteronotid ichthyofauna; (3) propose a molecular-based hypothesis regarding the origin of the family Apteronotidae; (4) describe new gymnotiform taxa, at both the species and supra-specific levels. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
TAGLIACOLLO, VICTOR A.; BERNT, MAXWELL J.; CRAIG, JACK M.; OLIVEIRA, CLAUDIO; ALBERT, JAMES S.. Model-based total evidence phylogeny of Neotropical electric knifefishes (Teleostei, Gymnotiformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 95, p. 20-33, . (12/09990-0)
TAGLIACOLLO, VICTOR A.; ROXO, FABIO FERNANDES; DUKE-SYLVESTER, SCOTT M.; OLIVEIRA, CLAUDIO; ALBERT, JAMES S.. Biogeographical signature of river capture events in Amazonian lowlands. Journal of Biogeography, v. 42, n. 12, p. 2349-2362, . (14/05051-5, 12/09990-0)
TAGLIACOLLO, VICTOR A.; DUKE-SYLVESTER, SCOTT M.; MATAMOROS, WILFREDO A.; CHAKRABARTY, PROSANTA; ALBERT, JAMES S.. Coordinated Dispersal and Pre-Isthmian Assembly of the Central American Ichthyofauna. Systematic Biology, v. 66, n. 2, SI, p. 183-196, . (12/09990-0)

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