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Evolutionary biology and conservation of vipers

Grant number: 12/15273-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): February 10, 2013
Effective date (End): December 09, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marcio Roberto Costa Martins
Grantee:Marcio Roberto Costa Martins
Host: Harvey B. Lillywhite
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Florida, Gainesville (UF), United States  
Associated research grant:11/50206-9 - Origin and evolution of snakes and their diversification in the Neotropics: a multidisciplinary approach, AP.BTA.TEM

Abstract

Snakes currently exhibit a tremendous biological diversity and the knowledge of their evolutionary biology has increased considerably in recent years, largely by the availability of new phylogenies. In addition to the latter, information about the natural history and geographical distribution of snakes have been key to this advance. Such knowledge is essential for many ecological and evolutionary studies, as well as to assess the conservation status of different lineages. In this project I propose a comprehensive study of the vipers, a monophyletic group with over 300 described species, distributed in almost all continents. Therefore, it is proposed (1) building a comprehensive database on biology and geographic distribution, (2) a description of the patterns of natural history of different lineages of the family, (3) exploring the evolutionary biology of the group through comparative methods and (4) assessing the conservation status of all vipers, identifying geographical and phylogenetic patterns in vulnerabilities and threats. It is proposed that a significant part of these initiatives are implemented through a stay of 10 months at the University of Florida (UFL, Gainesville), which would allow work in the local comprehensive herpetological collection, facilitate access to the main herpetological collections of the United States and allow interactions (collaborative or not) with various viper experts. (AU)