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Cranial evolution of sigmodontine rodents Wagner, 1843

Grant number: 15/16598-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2016
Effective date (End): October 13, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Quantitative Genetics
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Gabriel Henrique Marroig Zambonato
Grantee:Bárbara Maria de Andrade Costa
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/02691-7 - Genetic constraints and the evolution of sigmodontine rodents., BE.EP.PD


Rodents of the subfamily Sigmodontinae comprises the mammal clade with the greatest diversity and distribution in the Neotropics. Adapted for a wide range of lifestyles, sigmodontine pattern of diversification has been widely debated, especially through a phylogenetic, biogeography and taxonomy perspective. Studying the modularity/morphological integration of organisms is fundamental since the modular structure influences the multivariate evolution. Thus, I used the approaches of morphological integration and quantitative genetics in my PhD to understand the pattern and magnitude of cranial integration of this subfamily, and its evolutionary potential. As part of the results, I detected a high similarity in the covariance structure among subfamily taxa after 14 million years of diversification. This is an important premise which allows us to further study the evolutionary processes operating to differentiate the species means and question: 1) Was genetic drift the evolutionary process responsible for this subfamily cranial diversification? 2) What is the influence of the line of least evolutionary resistance in the direction, magnitude and rate of evolutionary diversification among subfamily taxa? Having created a database of about 3000 specimens, I intend to explore these questions in the coming years. This project is part of an initial work for assessing evolutionary processes leading to this subfamily radiation in a multivariate context, relevant to all mammals and evolutionary theory in general. (AU)

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