Diversity distribution patterns associated with bathymetric variation are related to a number of biotic and abiotic conditions which, alone, are not able to explain them. Functional traits of individuals mediate their responses to these conditions, thus affecting fitness to live in different habitats and spatial variation in species composition. Relating the distribution of organisms to their functional traits, their evolutionary histories, and the environmental conditions they inhabit helps to understand the processes that regulate diversity. This project aims to integrate geographic and bathymetric data of species, functional traits, evolutionary histories and environmental conditions in the inference of patterns and mechanisms that led to the occupation of niches by hydroids. For this, we propose: (1) to infer environmental predictors of species distribution and functional traits; (2) to characterize the biogeographic structure of the species according to their functional traits; (3) to infer geographic and bathymetric patterns of variation of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversities and their correlations. The study will include data on the taxonomy, phylogeny and 14 functional traits of benthic hydroids from the entire Atlantic Ocean and adjacent polar seas at depths below 50 m. Niche modeling methodologies, functional biogeography, and taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity indexes will be used. By approaching the different processes that regulate the distribution patterns of hydroids, we hope to bring an integrated understanding of the ecological and evolutionary aspects of deep-sea diversity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: