Cnidaria is one of the oldest animal phyla, and includes the corals, jellyfish, sea anenomes, and hydra. Its classes vary dramatically in species richness from 45 spp. in Cubozoa to 7,200 in Anthozoa, but the reasons that explain this variation are unknown. Likewise, this phylum have also evolved striking variation in morphology, ecology and metagenetic life cycles. However, the relationship between these traits and the diversification and richness patterns among cnidarian clades remains poorly understood. This internship proposal aims to test the impact of at least 16 traits (including morphology, ecology, reproduction, and development) on diversification and richness patterns among cnidarian clades. In my PhD project, patterns of macroevolution of the class Staurozoa are being analyzed in order to infer the processes underlying diversification in the group. For the internship proposed here, I will estimate the patterns and processes driving diversification across all cnidarian clades. In order to achieve these aims, we propose to visit the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, at the University of Arizona, to obtain a methodological training in estimation of diversification rates and macroevolutionary data analysis, as well as to collaborate with John Wiens an expert in macroevolutionary methodologies.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: