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Unveiling geographical, ecological, and evolutionary relationships of a Neotropical species complex of unisexual lizards of genus Leposoma (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) through Ecological Niche Modeling

Grant number: 16/03146-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2016
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Principal Investigator:Miguel Trefaut Urbano Rodrigues
Grantee:Tuliana Oliveira Brunes
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50146-6 - Comparative phylogeography, phylogeny, paleoclimate modeling, and taxonomy of neotropical reptiles and amphibians, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/07660-0 - Using next-generation sequencing data to estimate ploidy level and access cyto-nuclear genomic variability of a neotropical species complex of unisexual lizards (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae: Loxopholis), BE.EP.PD


The lizards of the Leposoma percarinatum complex are quite intriguing to present a unisexual reproductive mode, including individuals with different ploidy numbers [2n and 3n]. The origin and impacts of sex-independent reproduction and the increase of ploidy has long been fascinating evolutionary biologists. Questions related with the evolution of Leposoma have been investigated at different perspectives through the BIOTA-FAPESP project [AP.BTA.TEM#11/50146-6]. Here, we intend to investigate the mechanism behind the origin of parthenogenesis in L. percarinatum, and address the ecological and biogeographic impacts associated with its unisexual reproduction and ploidy differences. For that, we will perform a set of Ecological Niche Modeling analyses and combine these data with the phylogenetic history of Leposoma. Specifically, we intend to address the following questions: i) are the niche of the putative parental's species similar to the 2n/3n clones; ii) are the niche of 3n similar to the 2n; iii) are there sympatric areas between putative parental's species; iv) are 3n clones occupying a harsher habitat than 2n parental's species; and finally v) how the current distribution of these lizards will be affected by future climate changes. Therewith, we will be able to shed light on the role of biogeographic and ecologic interactions as drivers of reproductive mode and polyploidy changes and, ultimately, contribute to define areas of conservation of these evolutionary processes. Beyond the specific goals of this proposal, this post-doc will be crucial for the returning of a Brazilian young re-searcher [from a European institute] to establish a scientific carrier in Brazil.

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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)
MACHADO PELLEGRINO, KATIA CRISTINA; BRUNES, TULIANA OLIVEIRA; SOUZA, SERGIO MARQUES; LAGUNA, MARCIA MARIA; SAUER AVILA-PIRES, TERESA CRISTINA; HOOGMOED, MARINUS STEVEN; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL TREFAUT. On the distinctiveness of Amapasaurus, its relationship with Loxopholis Cope 1869, and description of a new genus for L. guianensis and L. hoogmoedi (Gymnophthalmoidea/Ecpleopodini: Squamata). Zootaxa, v. 4441, n. 2, p. 332-346, . (13/50297-0, 03/10335-8, 11/50146-6, 12/10163-1, 16/03146-4)
BRUNES, TULIANA O.; DA SILVA, ANDRE JUSTINO; MARQUES-SOUZA, SERGIO; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL T.; PELLEGRINO, KATIA C. M.. Not always young: The first vertebrate ancient origin of true parthenogenesis found in an Amazon leaf litter lizard with evidence of mitochondrial haplotypes surfing on the wave of a range expansion. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 135, p. 105-122, . (12/10163-1, 13/50297-0, 16/03146-4, 03/10335-8)
BRUNES, TULIANA O.; LYRA, MARIANA L.; MALDONADO, JOSE A.; PELLEGRINO, KATIA C. M.; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL TREFAUT; FUJITA, MATTHEW K.. The first mitochondrial genome of a South America parthenogenetic lizard (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae). MITOCHONDRIAL DNA PART B-RESOURCES, v. 6, n. 8, p. 2393-2395, . (16/03146-4, 13/50297-0, 11/50146-6, 18/07660-0)

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