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Morphological variability within the evolutionary context of colonial hydrozoans (Cnidaria, Proboscoida)

Grant number: 17/00641-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): September 18, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Antonio Carlos Marques
Grantee:Amanda Ferreira e Cunha
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50242-5 - Dimensions of marine life: patterns and process of diversifications in planktonic and benthic cnidarians, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/24781-5 - Understanding the role of genes and the environment in determining phenotypic variation in the genus Orthopyxis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, BE.EP.PD


Variability in morphology, physiology and life history traits in marine invertebrates is frequently a result of phenotypic plasticity. It may contribute to the adaptation to heterogeneous environments and form the basis for species diversification. Although morphological plasticity in colonial hydrozoans is frequently related to variation in environmental conditions and assumed to be adaptive, few studies have investigated these hypotheses. Similarly, recurrent patterns of high genetic diversity within nominal species have revealed misinterpretations of the levels of morphological variation and the extent of phenotypic plasticity in the group. This project aims to evaluate the relationship between morphological variability and genetic differentiation, with hydroids of the suborder Proboscoida as a model system. Patterns of morphological variability among individuals and populations will be investigated by testing for the occurrence of morphological dissimilarity and genetic structure among habitats with heterogeneous environmental conditions. Additionally, the evolutionary history of morphological characters and their variability will be investigated using phylogenetic comparative methods, searching for possible associations between ancestral variation and cryptic diversity in derived lineages. With this approach we expect to understand the extent of plastic variation in morphology and genetic variation in natural populations, as well as the role of morphological variability in the evolution and diversification of the group.

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Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CUNHA, AMANDA FERREIRA; CARMELET-RESCAN, DAVID; MARQUES, ANTONIO CARLOS; MORGAN-RICHARDS, MARY. Contrasting morphological and genetic patterns suggest cryptic speciation and phenotype-environment covariation within three benthic marine hydrozoans. Marine Biology, v. 169, n. 8, p. 17-pg., . (18/24781-5, 11/50242-5, 17/00641-7)
CUNHA, AMANDA FERREIRA; MARUYAMA, PIETRO KIYOSHI; JACOBUCCI, GIULIANO BUZA. Epiphytic hydroids (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) contribute to a higher abundance of caprellid amphipods (Crustacea, Peracarida) on macroalgae. Hydrobiologia, v. 808, n. 1, p. 251-264, . (17/00641-7, 15/21457-4)
CUNHA, AMANDA F.; COLLINS, ALLEN G.; MARQUES, ANTONIO C.. When morphometry meets taxonomy: morphological variation and species boundaries in Proboscoida (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa). ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, v. 190, n. 2, p. 417-447, . (17/00641-7, 11/22260-9, 13/50484-4, 11/50242-5, 18/24781-5, 13/25874-3, 04/09961-4)
MENDOZA-BECERRIL, MARIA A.; ESTRADA-GONZALEZ, MARIAE C.; MAZARIEGOS-VILLARREAL, ALEJANDRA; RESTREPO-AVENDANO, LUISA; VILLAR-BELTRAN, ROGELIO D.; AGUERO, JOSE; CUNHA, AMANDA F.. Taxonomy and diversity of Hydrozoa (Cnidaria, Medusozoa) of La Paz Bay, Gulf of California. Zootaxa, v. 4808, n. 1, p. 1-37, . (17/00641-7)

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