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Hidden Biodiversity in a Brazilian hotspot: filling knowledge gaps of neglected taxonomic groups to unveil biological patterns and processes

Grant number: 22/12497-6
Support Opportunities:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2023 - June 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Samantha Koehler
Grantee:Samantha Koehler
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Adriano Brilhante Kury ; Alexandre Marcos Antonelli ; André Victor Lucci Freitas ; Glauco Machado ; Larissa Trierveiler Pereira ; Miguel Angel Medrano Leal
Associated scholarship(s):24/02862-4 - Technical support for the study of invertebrates, BP.TT
23/05528-5 - Technical support for the study of fungi, BP.TT


Biodiversity loss is global, but its impact is greatest in the tropics. To effectively conserve biodiversity in Brazil, we need accurate indicators of its status. Yet, our knowledge is constrained by data that are taxonomically and geographically biased toward a small subset of organisms. Invertebrates and fungi have profound knowledge gaps, reflecting the lack of experts, funding, public awareness, and political will applicable to their biodiversity conservation. Beyond the discrepancy between the number of described species and the number of species that exist, shortfalls on additional components of biodiversity consist of lack of knowledge on geographical variation, phylogenetic diversity, and ecological interactions among species or among groups of species. The Atlantic Forest (AF) biome is one of the most biologically diverse forests on Earth and one of the most degraded. The AF Research and Conservation Alliance (ARAÇÁ) is a new scientific multi-country partnership centered on the development and long-term use of 'Sitio Bacchus', a private reserve located in a high-elevation, well-preserved area. The site has not been subject to a broader inventory or deeper taxonomic and ecological studies. Our mission is to unveil biodiversity patterns and processes at multiple scales of organization, by promoting collaborations, catalyzing human resource training, and fostering conservation. As a first step, this project will conduct taxonomic surveys and prepare freely accessible, digital field guides of selected neglected taxonomic groups: orchid mycorrhizal fungi, macrofungi, Opiliones, and Leptidoptera; by generating new biodiversity data according on species occurrence, phylogenetic diversity, behavior, ecological interactions, and population structure; by providing human resource training in systematics, ecology and evolution and improvement/restauration of the biological collections in Brazil; by developing public awareness of neglected taxonomic groups. (AU)

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