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Structure and evolution of the Amazonian biota and its environment: an integrative approach

Grant number: 15/13928-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Technical Training Program - Technical Training
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2015
Effective date (End): July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Acordo de Cooperação: NSF - Dimensions of Biodiversity and BIOTA
Principal Investigator:Lúcia Garcez Lohmann
Grantee:Beatriz Machado Gomes
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:12/50260-6 - Structure and evolution of the Amazonian biota and its environment: an integrative approach, AP.BTA.TEM


We propose a new evolutionary and environmental synthesis of Amazonian biodiversity that will seek to answer 11 key research questions on 4 target-taxa (butterflies, plants, birds, primates): Question 1 asks where biodiversity is distributed in Amazonia. We will develop the most complete georeferenced database to date for Amazonian vascular plants and terrestrial vertebrates and then use that information to address fundamental questions about patterns of biodiversity. With Q2, we ask where species diversity is distributed and what are its biotic and abiotic associations? In Q3 we investigate how species diversity is organized at varying spatial scales into common distributional patterns (endemism). Then, we investigate the history of Amazonian diversity, asking (Q4) what are the large-scale phylogenetic histories for species within our "target" groups and (Q5) what has been their temporal pattern of diversification. We integrate these data in Q6 in order to address the paleobiogeographic history of our four groups across Amazonia. Integrating answers to these questions provides essential knowledge about the evolutionary origin of ecological assemblages at different spatial scales and helps resolve uncertainties about the drivers and patterns of diversification. Next, we ask questions about the history of environmental change. In Q7 we want to know how historical demographic and phylogeographic patterns can be used through genetic analysis, along with environmental modeling, to infer environmental stability or change from the late Neogene to present at regional scales. In Q8, we turn to geology and ask how new stratigraphic and age studies can narrow the uncertainties about the paleogeography of the Amazonian drainage system and terrestrial tropical Amazonia, particularly in the west, and since the latest Neogene when the world became cooler and drier and the effects of climate forcing more pronounced. In Q9, we ask, integratively, what data from paleobiogeography, genetic-demographic, and geology can jointly tell us about Amazonia's past ecology and environment. From these studies we examine the evolution of structural and functional landscape diversity of Amazonian environments at different spatial scales. In Q10 we use macroecological approaches, remote sensing, and climate-atmospheric modeling to ask how ecosystem function is related to ecosystem diversity over time. We focus on how late Neogene to Recent environments (from the above studies) influenced Amazonian functional diversity in biogeochemical flows, and how these, in turn, shaped the dimensions of biodiversity. Finally, in Q11 we ask how this history of Amazonia itself influenced global-scale changes in biogeochemical cycling. (AU)

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