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The role of ecological interactions in bat diversification

Grant number: 22/15866-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 28, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Principal Investigator:Tiago Bosisio Quental
Grantee:Gabriel Santos Garcia
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/06780-4 - The deep time drivers of biodiversity at the local, regional and global scales, AP.BTA.JP2


Abiotic factors are often treated as the main factor that regulate the origination of biological diversity on a geological scale. However, new evidence in favor of biotic components has revived the discussion about the role of ecological interactions in speciation and extinction dynamics. With this theoretical debate in mind, we propose to evaluate the effect of biotic and abiotic factors on the diversification of bats - an ecologically very diverse group of mammals. In the first of three chapters, we will characterize how ecological interactions (assessed from feeding interactions) affected bat diversification. We will investigate the effect of the degree of diet specialization on the dynamics of diversification, whether we find evidence of saturation in diversification, and whether different diets are related to different regimes of diversification. In the second chapter, we will focus on local communities, seeking to understand how the macroevolutionary context acts on building ecological networks of frugivory and pollination. We expect that lineages that show greater macroevolutionary stability (e.g. fewer extinctions and/or more speciation events) contribute more actively to local interaction networks, assuming more central ecological roles in these networks. Finally, in the third chapter, we will investigate the relative importance of environmental conditions, geographic descriptors and biotic components in bat diversification using a spatially explicit model.

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