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Biogeographic and adaptive history of the Heliconius erato butterfly in Neotropical forests: understanding the past to preserve the future.

Grant number: 21/13396-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:André Victor Lucci Freitas
Grantee:Patrícia Avelino Machado
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The Neotropical region presents high rates of diversity and different environmental conditions, raising questions about the biogeographic patterns of animal and plant species and the processes involved in the origin of this diversity, and the determination of these patterns. However, the contribution of invertebrates in these biogeographic studies in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes is still rare compared to studies carried out with plants and vertebrates. In this context, studies with butterflies have long contributed to the understanding of evolutionary and ecological patterns and can add to knowledge about evolution in these biomes. The Heliconius erato butterfly is widely distributed in the Neotropics, from Mexico to northern Argentina, and occurs in all biomes, including the Atlantic Forest and the Amazon. The main objective of this project is to describe the genetic variability among populations of H. erato sampled in different locations in the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, and to search for possible SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) adaptive to different landscapes where populations occur, correlating the genetic structure with the biogeographic and adaptive history of these butterflies. The study model proposed here, for all its historical application in ecological and evolutionary and, more recently, genomic studies constitutes an important contribution to studies that try to understand why the great diversity in the Neotropics, and how this biodiversity has responded to climate change and environmental in ecological and evolutionary times.

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