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THE ROLE OF LANDSCAPE HETEROGENEITY IN POPULATION CONNECTIVITY OF NEOTROPICAL MOUNTAINS FLORA

Grant number: 23/02564-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2023
Effective date (End): August 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Phytogeography
Principal Investigator:Isabel Aparecida da Silva Bonatelli
Grantee:Lara Cardoso Muniz
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas (ICAQF). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Diadema. Diadema , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The genetic structure of populations can be strongly affected by the dispersal limitation of the organisms imposed by landscape heterogeneity. Different barriers to gene flow have been proposed in biogeographical hypotheses to explain patterns of diversification in the Neotropical region. These barriers may also explain, in part, the great biodiversity found in mountain ecosystems, such as the Andes region and the Espinhaço Range in South America. The distribution of species diversity in these environments has been related to several biotic and abiotic factors, such as topographic heterogeneity, geological dynamics, climate change, dispersal capabilities, and ecological interactions. However, the role of different landscape components in establishing population structure and phylogeographic patterns in Neotropical taxa remains poorly understood. In this sense, the objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of different environmental factors in establishing the isolation of populations of flora species from two mountain environments in South America, the Andes, and the Espinhaço Range. Georeferenced genetic data of plant species will be collected in GBIF and GenBank databases. Analyses of population structure and genetic diversity, isolation tests by distance, environment, and resistance as well as species distribution modeling will be carried out in order to elucidate the importance of landscape components in population connectivity. The results of this work should offer a broader understanding of the factors that shape biodiversity in mountainous environments and encourage studies of landscape genetics, an area still little explored in the Neotropical region.

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