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Phylogeography and conservation of Melipona subnitida bees (Apidae, Meliponini)

Grant number: 16/21101-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2017
Effective date (End): July 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Principal Investigator:Tiago Mauricio Francoy
Grantee:Vanessa Bonatti
Supervisor: Michael Hickerson
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: City University of New York, New York (CUNY), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/20358-7 - Genetic characterization of Melipona subnitida populations (Apidae, Meliponini), a stingless bee of the Brazilian Northeast, BP.DR


Phylogeographicy studies have experienced an exponentialplosive growth in the last years due to the development of DNA technologies, theories and statistical analysis. However, the number of phylogeographic studies for the Caatinga regions is still very low. Some researches suggest that the geographic distribution of Caatinga was highly affected during the climatic fluctuations of the Pleistocene, but its consequences to the genetic diversity of dry forest-associated taxa are still poorly understood. In this sense, phylogenetic studies of stingless bees Melipona subnitida can provide us important information about the events that give arise to the currently geographical distribution of diversity. Considering the high environmental heterogeneity found in Caatinga and the occurrence of M. subnitida in the different habitat types, a wider and bigger characterization is necessary. The study of both natural and manipulated populations based on the comparison of different molecular markers (such as SNPs, and mtDNA geometric morphometric wings) will be essential for practical implications for conservation of M. subnitida, a species that has great economic and ecological importance for the Northeastern Brazil. Moreover, with a detailed phylogeographic analysis, it will be possible to understand the demographic processes responsible for structuring throughout current distribution of these bees and assess how species responded to past environmental fluctuations to predict how they respond to current changes. (AU)

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