How and when did the evolution of biological megadiversity take place in the Amazon? This is one of the most contentious issues in neotropical biogeography, being discussed since the XIX century. Regarding reptiles and amphibians, one of the few consensual ideas on this subject is that the taxonomic diversity as currently described is underestimated. Phylogeographic analyses highlighted strong genetic structure and cryptic diversity in several organisms previous classifid as widespread species throughout the biome. Unfortunately, this new layer of diversity is not being incorporated in measures of regional biological diversity or conservation strategies, mainly because genetic lineages are hardly described as distinct species. In this sense, measures of Phylogenetic Diversity (PD) and Phylogenetic Endemism (PE) reveal and project the evolutionary singularity onto geographical space, bypassing the asymmetries between taxonomy and evolutionary biology, and introducing the cryptic diversity in conservation programs. Therefore, one of the goals of this proposal is to reveal PE patterns in Brazilian Amazon, through the compilation of published molecular data and the generation of new data for 16 herpetofauna species. Besides reveal patterns, we also intend to clarify the historical processes responsible for herpetofaunal diversification in the Amazon, performing a comparative phylogeography analysis using two cryptic species complex, Chatogekko amazonicus e Loxopholis spp, using Next Generation DNA sequencing protocols (ddRADseq) and applying a statistical phylogeography framework, enabling a robust test of the various hypotheses already proposed to explain the emergence and maintenance of the Amazonian biodiversity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: