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An integrative assessment of speciation in tropical anurans: genetic and phenotypic traits involved in the diversification of Common Barker frogs (Anura, Leptodactylidae)

Grant number: 22/05635-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Luciana Bolsoni Lourenço
Grantee:Fábio Perin de Sá
Supervisor: Iñigo Martinez-Solano
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:20/11125-2 - Sexual selection, reinforcement theory, and reproductive isolation: frontiers in the diversification of Physalaemus (Anura), BP.PD

Abstract

Biological diversification relies on speciation, a process associated with reproductive isolation. In our project FAPESP #2020/11125-2, we are investigating the diversification process of Neotropical Barker frogs in the Physalaemus cuvieri-Physalaemus ephippifer clade (Leiuperinae, Leptodactylidae), specifically focusing on a striking hybrid zone. Sexual selection theory postulates that ecophenotypic similarities hinder interspecific divergence, attenuating pre-zygotic barriers. When pre-zygotic isolation is non-existent or ineffective, low hybrid adaptability, from genetic or chromosomal incompatibility, may act as post-zygotic barriers, becoming critical to maintain species boundaries. In this context, reinforcement theory postulates that natural selection acts against hybrids with lower fitness than parental species, but its actual relevance is controversial. Ecophenotypically similar, Barker frogs exhibit multiple geographically structured molecular lineages associated with key chromosomal disparities, providing an excellent natural vertebrate system to elucidate evolutionary mechanisms driving species diversification in the Neotropics. Here, we propose to conduct new, integrative analyses under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Iñigo Martínez-Solano at Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC (Madrid, Spain). Specifically, we will apply state-of-the-art analytical tools on mitochondrial, genomic, morphometric, behavioral, bioacoustics, and dorsal color pattern data (gathered along 2021-2022), in addition to previously available cytogenetic and geographic information, to shed light on the diversification and speciation processes of these Neotropical frogs. (AU)

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