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Maintenance of divergent morphologies in sympatry: The case of the intertidal red alga Hypnea pseudomusciformis

Grant number: 20/00860-3
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2021 - February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Plant Taxonomy
Cooperation agreement: Universities New Zealand, Te Pōkai Tara
Mobility Program: SPRINT - Projetos de pesquisa - Mobilidade
Principal researcher:Mutue Toyota Fujii
Grantee:Mutue Toyota Fujii
Principal researcher abroad: Giuseppe Zuccarello
Institution abroad: Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Assoc. researchers:Fábio Nauer da Silva
Associated research grant:17/50341-0 - Challenges for biodiversity conservation facing climate changes, pollution, land use and occupation (PDIp), AP.PDIP


Hypnea pseudomusciformis is one of the most common species in the Brazilian coast. Research has confirmed that this genetically similar alga shows a great deal of morphological variation even in sympatry, and that this variation is stable in culture. Research has also shown that these genetically stable morphologies are reproductively compatible. How do reproductively compatible organisms maintain divergent morphologies in sympatry? This work will have implications both for algal evolutionary studies, i.e. factor driving speciation, plus algal responses to diverse environments, i.e. environmental change. This collaboration will take advantage of reciprocal visits (New Zealand and Brazil) to develop variable nuclear markers that will be used to determine if unknown reproductive isolating mechanisms are maintaining isolation, leading to these divergent morphologies. This work will also initiate studies on the phylogeography and population genetics of seaweeds, using hypervariable markers, on the Brazilian coasts. Dr Fabio Nauer is an expert in the genetic variation and reproduction of Brazilian algae, especially the genus Hypnea, and this research will be a continuation, and lead to further applications, of his FAPESP research. Professor Zuccarello has an interest in intra-specific variation and the mechanisms maintained and producing variation and leading to speciation. (AU)

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