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Ecology and evolution of sleep in snakes

Grant number: 22/14451-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): March 31, 2027
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Thaís Barreto Guedes da Costa
Grantee:Gabriel Spanghero Vicente Ferreira
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/07161-6 - Evolution and biogeography of the herpetofauna: patterns, process and implications for conservation in a scenario of environmental and climate changes, AP.JP


Sleep biology in snakes as well as its ecological and behavioral aspects is unknown for most species, especially for the Neotropical species. The fact that snakes present a state similar to what is considered "sleep" has been demonstrated by behavioral observations, but the pattern of brain activity of snakes during the inactive state is almost absent. Furthermore, the place where snakes choose to sleep - where they spend most of their time - and their associated characteristics, are probably determined by external environmental and structural factors. This project, therefore, from an integrative approach, aims to provide new information about the brain activity of snakes during sleep and then investigate the ecology and evolution of the place used to sleep in nature. We will test three hypotheses from based on data from in vivo experimentation, monitoring individuals in the wild and bibliographical review: (1 brain activity during sleep is similar to those observed for lizards; (2) snakes species generally choose the sleeping site with a certain set of characteristics determined by availability, predation pressure and temperature; and (3) the place used to sleep evolved associated with morphological traits related to the environment used during the active state.

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