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Influence of interactions between predators and prey on the macroevolutionary dynamics of mammals

Grant number: 21/04220-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Paleozoology
Principal Investigator:Mathias Mistretta Pires
Grantee:João Claudio de Sousa Nascimento
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The role of ecological interactions in shaping diversity patterns over wide time scales is one of the central issues in macroevolution, with a long history of studies and debates. Despite this, the consequences of different types of interactions in the evolutionary dynamics of lineages are still uncertain. In this project, I will seek to elucidate the role that trophic relationships between predators and preys may have played in the dynamics of diversification in mammals. Using data from the fossil record, combined with mathematical models, we will analyze the macroevolutionary dynamics of predator families and their potential prey. Using modern probabilistic approaches that incorporate the uncertainty associated with the fossil record, I intend to estimate the rate of speciation and extinction of these clades, as well as the reciprocal influence of the diversity of groups of predators and preys on such rates. Going further, body size is one of the most important characteristics of organisms, determining various ecological and evolutionary patterns. Thus, I will try to understand how body size can modulate the patterns found. I will also test the influence of environmental factors on the diversification of these clades, seeking to understand the relative role that abiotic and biotic factors played on the history of diversification of these groups. (AU)

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