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Seascape genetics and evaluation of expression profiles on marine invertebrates on Brazilian Southeast Coast: visitor benefit

Abstract

The Nemertea phylum comprises about 1300 species, mostly marine, distributed worldwide. Most of these species has few aspects from their bionomic characteristics known. In addition, this is a taxonomically challenging group as there are few reliable morphological traits for the species identification. This explains that 60% of the genera are considered monotypical and the frequently found cryptic species complexese. The lack of knowledge is even greater among the nemerteans of the Brazilian coast. Thus, three projects that seek to better understand the biology and distribution of nemertean species on the Brazilian coast are currently in progress: (1) "Seascape genetics and evaluation of expression profiles on marine invertebrates on Brazilian Southeast coast"; (2) Nemertopsis bivittata (Nemertea:Enopla) and Perinereis ponteni (Annelida: Polychaeta): species validity, gene flow and genetic diversity on the Brazilian coast"; and (3) "Intra and interespecific toxins genetic variation in Nemertea". These projects are in different stages, but all have much to benefit from the establishment of international collaborations. In the case of the first two projects, preliminary analyzes showed evidence that individuals with external morphology similar to Nemertopsis bivittata species present on the Brazilian coast actually form a complex of cryptic species. Most of the taxonomically useful morphological characteristics can be visualized only in living individuals. Thus, the expertise of Dr. Jon Norenburg is necessary for these likely species complex found. Regarding the third project, we intend to relate the genetic variability of the toxins with the evolutionary pressures associated with predation. Therefore, feeding experiments with the species N. bivittata and Lineus bonaerensis will be carried out. Such experiments are quite complex due to the high specificity of conditions necessary for the maintenance of live nemerteans, as well as for feeding induction. Thereby, the expertise of the researcher in question is extremely important for the experiments success. The expeditions necessary for collecting individuals for species description, as well as for food preference experiments, will take place in February of 2019. (AU)

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