Gastrotrichs are aquatic microinvertebrates (less than 1 mm) and an important component of the benthos and phytofauna of marine and freshwater habitats. Despite the large number of specimens in different habitats, this taxon is poor studied possibly due to the small size and fragility of their bodies. The taxon consists of nearly 830 named species grouped into two orders, Macrodasyida and Chaetonotida. The muscular studies have been used as a tool to improve the knowledgement of the morphology of species. The growing technologic developmental of microscopy allow that some structures and ultrastructure can be accessed detailed, an example of this is the fact of the muscular system of gastrotrichs can be analyzed by the modern confocal microscopy. Authough Thaumastodermatidae is the most speciose family within Macrodasyida, studies related to the muscular system analysis using the confocal technique are scarce and restricted to the reproductive system of the analyzed specimens. Thus, considering this knowledge gap, the present project has as main objective to explore the morphology of muscular system of thaumastodermatids using the modern techniques of microscopy and explore under the light of the evolution. The present project also aims to increase the knowledge of the diversity of Thaumastodermatidae in the Brazilian coast sampling in new localities, since to date the sample sites are concentrated in the State of São Paulo and besides opening new perspectives for studies of systematics and Gastrotricha evolution of the Brazilian coast.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: