Considering the importance of population genetic studies to better understand the distribution of marine benthic algae along the Brazilian coast, we selected as a model species Gracilaria caudata. Previous studies identified geographical structuring for populations along the Brazilian coast, indicating the existence of a possible genetic barrier influenced by environmental factors. The three groups found have as limits the states of Pernambuco, Bahia and Espírito Santo, a region that is part of the underwater volcanic chain called Vitória-Trindade, which also includes the mouth of the São Francisco River. However, populations in the states of Alagoas and Sergipe were not previously sampled. In addition, in the Southeast region only two populations were sampled (Espírito Santo and São Paulo), which does not include the population located at the Southernmost extreme of the species distribution (Santa Catarina). In the current project, we intend to: i, access the genetic diversity of five populations of G. caudata through microsatellites in order to better understand the possible evolutionary relationships among different populations, in addition to allowing a more precise delimitation of the biogeographic transition zone of the Brazilian coast.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: