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Reducing the Linnean and Darwinian knowledge shortfalls in a group of anurans endemic to Brazil (Leptodactylidae: Paratelmatobiinae)

Grant number: 21/06575-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad
Grantee:Marcus Thadeu Teixeira Santos
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


In light of the current biodiversity crisis, initiatives aimed at reducing the Linnean (i.e., discrepancy between the number of described and existing species) and Darwinian (i.e., insufficient understanding of the evolutionary relationships) knowledge shortfalls have become increasingly urgent. This is especially relevant for taxa that have characteristics associated with a high extinction risk (e.g., rarity, restricted geographic range, and habitat specialization), as are the species of the anuran subfamily Paratelmatobiinae. This group comprises 14 species endemic to Brazil, distributed in the Atlantic Forest and campo rupestre ecosystems. A recently published phylogenetic hypothesis suggests that the species richness within the subfamily is highly underestimated, due to the presence of lineages that could not be assigned to any nominal species (putatively new species) and the potential occurrence of cryptic diversity. Furthermore, the phylogenetic placement of three species remains uncertain due to the unavailability of tissue samples. In this project, analyses of distinct character systems (DNA, adult and larval morphology, bioacoustics, and cytogenetics) and different delimitation methods will be conducted to assess the taxonomic status of the putatively new species and the deeply divergent lineages that were previously detected for Paratelmatobiinae. Additionally, by using recently collected samples and high-throughput sequencing of historical specimens, the project also aims to produce a phylogenetic hypothesis that encompasses all currently recognized species in the subfamily, including those no longer found in nature. Finally, in order to support future studies and speed up the process of describing new species, a digital database with the inclusion of a multi-access identification key will be developed for the species of Paratelmatobiinae. (AU)

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