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Effects of altitudinal variation on phenotypic differentiation and local adaptation of populations of Pitcairnia flammea (Bromeliaceae) endemic to the Atlantic Forest

Grant number: 20/16696-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal Investigator:Clarisse Palma da Silva
Grantee:Tami da Costa Cacossi
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Located in the Neotropical region, the Atlantic Forest is the second largest tropical rainforest in South America. It is formed by a complex of vegetation and various types of plant communities, being among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. The Bromeliaceae family presents this region as one of its main centers of diversification and has a high number of endemic species. Pitcairnia flammea (Bromeliaceae) is an endemic species of the Atlantic Forest, located along an altitudinal gradient, and presents great morphological variations and low gene flow between populations, being a good model for studies of diversification and local adaptation of populations. In this study, we intend to analyze possible effects of altitudinal variation on phenotypic differentiation and local adaptation of P. flammea populations, correlating them with the geological and climatic history of the region. Thus, this project aims to: 1) evaluate morphological and ecophysiological functional characters in populations of different altitudinal levels in order to verify adaptations to local conditions of temperature variation; and 2) to characterize populations of different elevations in terms of thermotolerance to low and high temperatures. The points studied in this work may elucidate questions about the evolution and diversification of these plants in an altitudinal gradient of mountains in the Atlantic Forest. Such information is essential for understanding the processes that generated the diversity of species in this region, in addition to providing subsidies for the management and conservation of this and other species in this biome, and to help in predictions about how species restricted to these environments can respond to climate change projected for the future.

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