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Associations of developmental modules and ecological diversity during the morphological evolution of phalanges in Gekkota (Squamata)

Grant number: 14/26287-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2015
Effective date (End): July 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Tiana Kohlsdorf
Grantee:Priscila de Souza Rothier Duarte
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/03953-7 - Modular evolution of the autopodium in Gekkota (Squamata): integrating morphology, ecology and function, BE.EP.MS


Studies in Eco-Evo-Devo field have become more frequent in the past few years, and their scientific contribution is undeniable for the integration of knowledge regarding evolutionary processes. Among evolutionary processes, special attention has been given to phenotypic constraints influenced by modularity during development. Modules are highly integrated developmental units, organized at many different hierarchical levels (from molecular interactions to entire organism) that express covariation. For example, the phalanges develop from a deeply conserved module in Tetrapoda which constrains these skeletal elements in a proportional range of nearly equal in size phalanges or in a size gradient from large to small elements. However, the absence of covariation between distal and proximal phalanges in some lizard species suggests that the selection of particular locomotor habits is associated to the dissociation of such developmental module into distal and proximal submodules. Here we propose to use gekkotan lizards (Squamata: Gekkota) to investigate possible associations of locomotor habit used by species and ecomorphological and developmental patterns that may explain the morphological diversity of phalanges in this group. The proposal will be accomplished in two complementary steps. Firstly, linear morphometric data of phalanges will be obtained by digital radiographies using approximately 30 gecko species. Modular dissociation will be inferred using covariation indexes (of distal and proximal phalanges) associated to locomotor habit. Posteriorly, the patterns of embryonic development and the establishment of phalangeal morphology will be identified for Gekkota. In this second step, morphometrics will be taken using digital pictures (taken by a digital stereoscope) of embryo's autopodia of one gecko specie and two outgroups species, using clearing and staining technique. This proposal stands out in the integration of many scientific fields in the understanding of evolutionary processes associated to phenotypic diversity origins in the vertebrates' autopodia. (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)
ROTHIER, PRISCILA S.; BRANDT, RENATA; KOHLSDORF, TIANA. Ecological Associations of Autopodial Osteology in Neotropical Geckos. Journal of Morphology, v. 278, n. 3, p. 290-299, MAR 2017. Web of Science Citations: 4.

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