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Conquering islands: an analysis based on terrestrial gastropod representatives from Cuba (Mollusca: Prosobranchia e Pulmonata)

Grant number: 16/13231-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Luiz Ricardo Lopes de Simone
Grantee:Sandra Sariego Frómeta
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The Cuban land mollusk fauna is widely represented by Prosobranchia and Pulmonata subclasses, in such amount of species and subspecies, of forms and variations, that at the beginning of the last century, Cuba was nominated as "the paradise of the land snails". However, in over 170 years of research, the Cuban land mollusks have not been studied following the current taxonomic criteria. Neither there are researches approaching the phylogeny of the Cuban mollusk fauna, nor morpho-anatomic studies as compared to the ones representing the South American islands or other Caribbean islands. Within the Malacology, it is common (in contrast with most of the zoological groups) that the phylogenetic study departs from a broader taxonomic approach (based on representatives of more inclusive taxa) and just after that phase, researches are developed with taxa, which are nearer the species. This project is framed at that first phase. That way, a heterogeneous sample of 35 species of endemic land mollusks of the Cuban archipelago (the Cuban island and the Isle of Youth) classified into 5 orders, 13 families, and 26 genera (54% endemic) will be studied. The material will be obtained mainly from collections and collects will also be carried out in different locations of the 8 biogeographic systems of the Cuban endemic terrestrial gastropods. The characters will be obtained through the morphologic and anatomic study, by using dissection techniques, microscopy and histology; and they will be represented in scientific illustrations and photos, all within the routine of the Museum of Zoology of the University of São Paulo (MZUSP). A complete taxonomic treatment will be offered to each studied species. A matrix will be constructed; this will be associated to the description of characters, and a subsequent cladistic analysis, with the aid of specific software able to search for the most parsimonious solution. The main intention of this project, in addition to the obvious knowledge enlargement about the phylogenetic relationships of the Cuban snail families (based on representatives) and the improvement of taxonomy and morpho-anatomy, is the understanding of the way the colonization of islands occurs in a biogeographical approach. So this project complements the one developed in the MZUSP, which seeks for the understanding of the colonization of oceanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, with several fundings and publications. An evolutionary parallel with an island country as Cuba is an important addition to that study. (AU)

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