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Evolutionary biogeography and conservation of lanceheads of Bothrops alternatus group (Serpentes, Viperidae)

Grant number: 13/03155-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 28, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Jannini Sawaya
Grantee:Daniela Petrim de Araújo
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The geographical distribution of species is affected by historical and current factors. Models of species' ecological distribution, before named as models of species' ecological niches, has been used to understand the role of these factors in the geographical distribution of various species groups. The habitat loss caused by human actions can also influence the species' geographical distribution endangering species with restricted or limited distribution. The reconstruction of historical and ancestral geographical distribution of a particular group can contribute to understanding the evolution and conservation of their species. The Bothrops alternatus group is composed of six species: B. alternatus, B. itapetiningae, B. fonsecai, B. cotiara, B. ammodytoides e B. jonathani. At least three species are suffering the consequences of their habitat loss in the two most threatened Brazilian biomes, the Cerrado and Atlantic forest. Our aims are: 1) to understand the evolution of geographic distribution and use of open or forested habitat for species of Bothrops alternatus group and their hypothetical ancestors; and 2) to analyze whether recent habitat loss occurred in Brazil had some influence on the distribution patterns of the group. To understand the evolution of the landscape occupation, we'll use the reconstruction method of geographical distribution Statistical Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis (S-DIVA), from already available phylogenetic hypotheses. To analyze the influence on habitat loss for the species' geographical distribution, we'll build species' geographical distribution models from two distinct database with periods before and after habitat loss of a particular biome. In addition to contributing to the understanding of the group's evolution, this project can provide unpublished data of great importance for the conservation of the snakes from South America. (AU)