Water availability plays a key role in maintaining forest cover and distribution of plant species. The geological history of South America during the Neogene and the Quaternary is closely linked with watersheds and currently about 30% of the continent is classified as wetlands. The existence of these environments since the Neogene potentially influence the evolution and speciation of plant species. The influence of pre- and post-Pleistocene origins of Amazon diversity is under intense debate, and the ecological processes that assemble and maintain mega-diverse communities are still being elucidated. In this study, we will seek to elucidate how forested wetlands in the Amazon may have contributed to the diversification of tree species and to the maintenance of regional diversity of these communities. We propose to study the geographic distribution, the time of diversification, and the ecological preferences of the tree species pool that are subject to the environmental filter imposed by periodic flooding.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: