Historical changes in habitat distributions can produce a synchronic response of an entire biological community. However, ecological traits of each population tend to increase the variance among diversification scenarios. In the Neotropical region the Atlantic Forest (AF) stands out due to its high biodiversity intimately linked to its complex landscape. In general, phylogeographic studies of AF organisms are focused on taxa with wide geographic and altitudinal distributions. However, taxa restricted to more specific environments can contribute to understand historical process that are not evident in more widely distributed populations. In this context, montane environments in the AF contrasts are suitable models, as they present high biodiversity and few studies explored their evolutionary processes. Dramatic changes in temperature and rainfall over the Quaternary could have changed the distribution of specific environments altitudinally, promoting expansion of montane habitats during glacial periods and contraction during interglacial periods. In the montane regions of southern AF (in Sao Paulo State) there is a gap of more than 300 km wide without areas above 1000 m. The absence of montane habitats in this region is suitable to the test diversification hypotheses regarding historical connections among currently isolated mountain ranges as well as the effects of ecological traits related to dispersion abilities of the focal taxa. In the present project we aim to estimate the degree of population structure and demographic history of population pairs occurring along the southern AF mountain ranges, testing diversification hypothesis regarding the assemblage of this community. The results obtained will enable comparisons with studies conducted with other endemic vertebrates species revealing new mechanisms of diversification for the AF biota as well as contributing to the conservation of montane environments.
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