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Diversification and evolutionary history of horned frogs Ceratophrys aurita (Raddi, 1823), Ceratophrys cranwelli Barrio 1980, Ceratophrys joazeirensis Mercadal and Barrio, 1986 and Ceratophrys ornata (Bell, 1843) (Anura, Ceratophryidae)

Grant number: 23/08932-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2023
Effective date (End): September 30, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad
Grantee:Diego Bueno Villafañe
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/10639-5 - Center for Research on Biodiversity Dynamics and Climate Change, AP.CEPID


Ceratophryidae is a Neotropical frog family composed of species with adaptations to semi-arid environments. In this family, Ceratophrys is the most diverse and widely distributed genus. There are eight species that are distributed from the north of Venezuela to the center of Argentina. The genus is divided into two clades, of which the clade called C. aurita is composed of C. aurita, C. cranwelii, C. joazeirensis and C. ornata, species that inhabit the Atlantic Forest, Chaco, Caatinga and Pampa, respectively. The retention of characters associated with survival in semi-arid environments in species that currently occur in humid environments supports the hypothesis that the initial diversification of the clade occurred in environments of the first type. In this project, using genetic information and methods to infer divergence times and to reconstruct the biogeographic history of the clade, the hypothesis of origin and initial diversification in semiarid environments will be tested. In addition to uncertainties about clade diversification, there are doubts about the taxonomic validity of C. joazeirensis, sister species of C. aurita. To resolve these uncertainties and identify the spatial boundaries in the pair of species, methods will be used to identify and validate genetic clusters. Furthermore, to test the different biogeographic (or diversification) scenarios that may have influenced the evolutionary history of these species, the posterior probability of models will be calculated using approximate Bayesian computation. A similar approach will be performed for C. cranwelli to test hypotheses about diversification in the Chaco and the possible effects of major historical events that may have affected this biome, such as marine transgressions and major glacial periods. (AU)

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