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Molecular diversity and phylogeny of turf-forming green algae (Chlorophyta) on Brazilian oceanic islands

Grant number: 19/11558-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): October 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Plant Taxonomy
Principal researcher:Mariana Cabral de Oliveira
Grantee:Michelle Cristine dos Santos Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Oceanic islands can "fertilize" adjacent regions, becoming oases of biodiversity amid the oceanic oligotrophic environment. Brazil has 4 oceanic environments, Atol das Rocas and 3 archipelagos, Fernando de Noronha, São Pedro and São Paulo, and Trindade and Martin Vaz. With the release of nutrients, trace elements and the availability of substrate generated by the islands, primary producers such as macroalgae are able to develop, thus forming part of the base of the trophic chain. Macroalgae are key organisms in the development of the marine ecosystem in oceanic islands, however, there are few studies on the diversity of species for these environments, probably due to the logistic difficulty for regular collections and the difficulty in identifying species, especially cryptic species among turfs. In this project, samples of Chlorophyta, will be collected in 3 expeditions with seasonal distinction in Trindade Island and São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago. We will use the plastidial molecular marker tufA for an initial scan of the green macroalgal richness in Brazilian oceanic islands and the rbcL and SSU markers will be used for phylogenetic analyzes. The species detected by the molecular markers will be analyzed for their morphology and geographical distribution. As main results it is expected to generate a more accurate list of the Chlorophyta species diversity in the Brazilian Oceanic Islands, associating to these species DNA barcodes; identify and describe possible cryptic species and reassess the degree of endemism. (AU)

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