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Ecological, evolutionary, and conservation correlates of aggression and territoriality in selected lineages of Neotropical hylid frogs

Grant number: 20/10189-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Marcio Roberto Costa Martins
Grantee:Ricardo Luría Manzano
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Aggression is a frequent feature in anurans and may be displayed in an escalated system, from acoustic signaling to engaging in physical combats. The aggressive behaviors associated with the defense of a territory containing a limited resource characterize territoriality. As aggression/territoriality are mostly restricted to males in anurans, it is believed to be driven by sexual selection, to show high levels of divergence, and to drive lineage diversification. Agonistic encounters involving acoustical and physical combats have potential negative consequences, such as high energy expenditure and injuries, which could result in a trade-off between the intensity of agonistic encounters and demographic traits, and ultimately body size. On the other hand, since larger individuals tend to have an advantage during combats, the inverse expectation could be raised. Given this potential relationship between aggression/territoriality with demographic traits, as well as the role they play in population regulation, it should be expected that aggression/territoriality affect vulnerability to extinction. This project has three objectives: (1) Explore how traits related to aggression/territoriality have evolved in the anuran family Hylidae, the role of factors in this process, and how these behaviors affect lineage diversification; (2) evaluate if traits related to aggression/territoriality are related to demographic traits at intraspecific (selected species of the genus Boana) and interspecific (genus Boana) levels; and (3) explore the possible effects of aggression/territoriality on vulnerability to extinction in the family Hylidae. We will obtain abiotic, biotic, and aggression/territoriality variables, as well as the conservation status category, for a sample of hylid species, from range maps and the literature. Additionally, we will measure traits related to aggression/territoriality and demographic traits from large samples of at least four species of Boana through fieldwork and measure the same variables from smaller samples in at least 24 species of this genus, through visits to scientific collections. We will estimate ancestral states, rates of evolution, phylogenetic signal, and evolutionary relationships between the different traits (AU)

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