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Phylogeography of mandacaru cacti (Cereus Mill.: Cactaceae) associated with limestone rocky outcrops in eastern Brazil

Grant number: 22/08482-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Acordo de Cooperação: NSF - Dimensions of Biodiversity and BIOTA
Principal Investigator:Vera Nisaka Solferini
Grantee:Maria Ursini Alves de Lima
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/03428-5 - Dimensions US-BIOTA-Sao Paulo: traits as predictors of adaptive diversification along the Brazilian Dry Diagonal, AP.BTA.TEM


Within a species, populations may be connected to some degree, depending on the characteristics of the landscape where they occur. Connectivity brings variability to the demes, insofar as gene flow takes place among them. Such variation is important for the genetic viability of the species, especially when facing processes that may impose pressure over individuals, such as habitat loss, fragmentation and climate change. Therefore, it is important to comprehend how much populations are interconnected to design more efficient conservation measures. There is a growing demand for information on population structure in conservation plans. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the species and its niche and habitat, in order to predict where the suitable habitat may be in the future, as well as to evaluate if the characteristics of the populations and landscape will allow the species to locally adapt and shift its range. Hence, this project intends to investigate pertinents hipotesis in phylogeography, population genetics and connectivity, in a climate change framework. The biological model to be utilized is the cactus Cereus jamacaru calcirupicola, which occurs in limestone rock outcrops in the Cerrado biome, a naturally fragmented habitat that could be dramatically affected by the effects of climate change. Through a orthologous genes panel specific for Cactaceae , there will be obtained molecular data, wich is going to be input for several specific programs of landscape genetics and phylogeography. Additionally, the species will have its niche modeled so that it shall be possible to predict its future distribution as well as the barriers to movement and adaptation. (AU)

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