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Evolution and ecomorphology of the subfamily Characinae (Actinopterygii: Characiformes: Characidae)

Grant number: 19/04602-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 17, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Claudio de Oliveira
Grantee:Camila da Silva de Souza
Supervisor abroad: Brian Sidlauskas
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Research place: Oregon State University (OSU), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:17/06551-0 - Characinae (Actinopterygii: Characiformes: Characidae): molecular identification and interspecific phylogenetic relationships, BP.DR


Characinae is one of the most species rich subfamilies of Characidae, and its members occur widely throughout South and Central America. They are small to medium sized fish, with the largest specimens not exceeding 240 mm in standard length. Most members of the group exhibit a deep anterior body with a characteristic gibbosity, though this is absent in Phenacogaster and Acestrocephalus. Though some morphological studies have examined the phylogenetic relationships within Characinae and the placement of this subfamily among the other subfamilies of Characidae, so far no phylogenetic study has densely sampled species within this subfamily to infer relationships using morphological or molecular characters. Characins have adopted three distinct feeding strategies: carnivory, omnivory and lepidophagy. The student author's Ph.D. thesis will examine the relationships among characin species using DNA sequences of about 2000 ultraconserved elements. We then propose to link dietary data and 3D reconstructions of skeletal morphology from micro-CT scanning to that phylogeny to test whether species favoring each diet evolve towards a distinct morphological optimum in head and body shape.

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