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Skull morphology in Lemuriform (Primates: Strepsirrhini) skull

Grant number: 14/15116-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2014
Effective date (End): March 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Quantitative Genetics
Principal researcher:Gabriel Henrique Marroig Zambonato
Grantee:Anna Paula Casselli Penna
Supervisor abroad: Sébastien Couette
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), France  
Associated to the scholarship:13/06577-8 - Morphologic Integration in Lemuriform (Primates: Strepsirrhini) Skull., BP.MS


During my masters project I seek to uncover the historical processes that led to the outstandingmorphological diversity of extant Madagascar primates, testing for the relative roles of genetic drift and natural selection. One way to approach this question relies on quantitative genetic predictions, by comparing the pattern and magnitude of connections among elements of a complex functional/developmental structure, such as the mammalian skull.The patterns and magnitude of variation within a population is tied to the variation between diver-gent species. Under the quantitative genetics theory lies an expectation for morphological diversification that in a monophyletic clade, if genetic drift is the main process in action, patterns of within and between-taxon morphological integration should be proportional. Therefore, the main goal of my research is to perform a multivariate test of the null hypothesis that genetic drift is a sufficient explanation for observed morphological diversification between the genera of Malagasy primates.While variance/covariance matrices are a useful tool to display the amount of cranial variation,trustworthy phenotypic matrices can only be estimated with large data sampling. Accessing the Europeans eminent mammal collections to gather morphometric data of key Strepsirrhini specimens is mandatory for the completion of my masters project, because Brazilian zoological collections lackpreparations of this group. Working under the supervision of Dr. Sébastien Couette will also enablemy access to important natural history museums in Europe, including the Museum Nattionel d'HistoireNatturele - Paris, the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie - Leiden and the British Museum National History -London. (AU)

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