Mangroves are ecosystems which occur on the border between the land and sea in tropical and subtropical latitudes and which perform important ecological functions and also serve as transitional or permanent habitat for an extremely diverse fauna. However, urban development, industrial, agricultural and aquaculture cluttered plus the recent accelerated process of global climate change (GCC) threaten the future of these ecosystems and their consequences are difficult to predict. In order to understand and generate information for the conservation of mangroves occurring in the Brazilian coast, our research group has studied the neutral genetic variability of five of the six mangrove species found in the country, generating information about its evolutionary history, its biology and the distribution of its diversity. The following proposed project aims to continue the studies of the Brazilian mangrove trees with the objectives of understanding the genetic and ecophysiological responses of Avicennia schaueriana to contrasting temperatures and also to understand how selective pressures associated with GCC from the past can affect the behavior and development of these plants in a scenario of future changes. To achieve this goal, seedlings collected in the northern and southern limits of the species' distribution will be cultivated under controlled growth conditions and under different temperature regimes. This approach will allow us to compare the responses of different populations to the same environment and also the response of a given population to different scenarios. Periodic evaluation of key ecophysiological traits and analysis of patterns and levels of gene expression, by massive sequencing of RNA (RNA-seq), will be performed. The results will have great value for the conservation and for management and restoration plans for these ecosystems in the face of GCC.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: