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Ecological assembly in Amazonian centered lineages reveal the role of wetlands in the origin and maintenance of Amazon tree diversity

Grant number: 17/22233-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 16, 2018
Effective date (End): October 15, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Phytogeography
Principal Investigator:Thiago Sanna Freire Silva
Grantee:Bruno Garcia Luize
Supervisor: Christopher Dick
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Michigan, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/24554-0 - The role of floodplains in the origin and maintenance of tree species diversity in the Amazon, BP.DR


Neotropical biodiversity has intrigued scientists over more than a century. Recent advances in molecular techniques and phylogenetic tools are providing new clues for diversification processes in Neotropical Biomes, such as Amazon forests. New phylogenetic evidence suggests Neotropical clade diversification patterns are profoundly influenced by ecology, and geographical effects may be less important explanations for the current species diversity. The lack of discrete geological barriers across Amazon permits tree species to disperse and become widespread. However, long distances separate populations that might have become isolated from each other for generations. While migrating across Amazon lowlands new edaphic and environmental local conditions might select ecotypes within lineages driving species diversification. One of the remarkable characteristic of Amazon landscape, from Paleocene to the Holocene, is the disproportionate amount of wetland habitats across the region. The extreme hydrological conditions founded on wetlands might have had a pronounced effect on Amazon tree species niche selection. We aim to infer the impacts of habitat shifts and dispersal events on Amazon tree diversity through focus on trees in the Neotropical Lecythidaceae clade. Using a dated phylogenetic tree for the group, we will analyze how the hydrological niche has evolved among Lecythidaceae lineages, closely looking for sister species niche shifts from upland to wetland habitats of Amazon lowlands. Further, we will analyze the timing of the nodes on the Lecythidaceae phylogeny to explore when the adaptation to wetlands evolved in the different Lecythidaceae clades. We expect to produce a research paper collaborating for a more comprehensive knowledge on the origins and maintenance of the Neotropical biodiversity.

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