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Comparative phylogeography of two neotropical pollinating fig wasp species

Grant number: 13/25936-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2014
Effective date (End): October 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Andrade Botelho de Almeida
Grantee:Benjamin Jean Yves Pélissié
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/09477-9 - Taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography, and evolution of Neopasiphaeinae bees (Hymenoptera: Colletidae) using molecular and morphological data, AP.JP


One of the main interests of reconstructing the history of species is to provide a framework for further investigations, especially in historical biogeography and evolution of lifehistory traits. Addressing these questions generally depends on our ability to carry out comparative investigations comparing closely-related clades, which is only feasible when accepted phylogenetic consensuses are available. While phylogenies have been obtained for various groups of organisms, relationships between members of many clades are still to be disentangled. Bees played a crucial role in the radiation of angiosperms and are central in the functioning of ecosystems, as the main pollinating agents of the vast majority of flowering plants. Corbiculate bees comprise almost all bee species presenting a truly social organization ('eusociality'), which is hypothesized to be a main factor in their evolutionary success. Among them, stingless bees is the most speciose tribe presenting an unusual pan-tropical distribution, and comprising hundreds of species, making this group ideal to perform to biogeographical and comparative research on various life-history traits. Despite the attractiveness of Meliponini, widely accepted phylogenetic hypotheses for these bees are still lacking for this group. Indeed, previous studies that investigated the relationships among stingless bees were based either on phenotypical characters that are not available for every taxon, or on very few molecular markers. As a matter of fact, we still do not apprehend very accurately both the evolutionary trajectory of eusociality in stingless bees and their historical biogeography, which in turn limits our understanding of the role of sociality in the evolutionary success of bees. To tackle these questions, our project aims at re-evaluating the phylogeny of stingless bees by using both a whole-genome molecular approach and a sampling from the biggest collection of stingless bees in the world. This new, state-of-the-art phylogenetic hypothesis will be used to infer the historical biogeography and evolutionary pattern of sociality in stingless bees for the first time. (AU)

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