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Biodiversity, evolution, and biogeography of neglected Atlantic reef fishes

Grant number: 23/12231-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2024
Effective date (End): March 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Hudson Tercio Pinheiro
Grantee:Gabriel Soares de Araujo
Host Institution: Centro de Biologia Marinha (CEBIMAR). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Sebastião , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/24215-2 - Biodiversity, biogeography and conservation of mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean, AP.BTA.JP


Reef ecosystems are one of the largest repositories of biodiversity on the planet, harboring about 25% of marine species in less than 1% of the oceans' surface. One of the most conspicuous components of this biota is the reef fish fauna, represented by more than 6000 species of different Teleostei lineages. This splendid species richness is reflected in a myriad of shapes, colors, sizes, and habits, making reef fish one of the most popular marine groups. However, a large portion of the reef ichthyofauna remains unknown in terms of diversity, evolution, and biogeography. Such lack of knowledge is biased towards taxonomic groups and geographic regions. Cryptobenthic reef families are particularly understudied. Due to their ecological attributes (small sizes, close benthic associations, and cryptic behavior), they are generally under sampled in scientific surveys. The geographic component is reflected in pockets of information gaps in specific geographic regions, such as in the Brazilian Province and its oceanic islands, where the overall diversity of species is poorly known. In this context, this project aims to fill the knowledge gaps of the reef ichthyofauna of the Brazilian Province, with emphasis (but not exclusively) on cryptobenthic species and oceanic islands, through modern techniques and genomic analyzes. More specifically, the proposal is based on the following main objectives: (1) generate genetic data of Brazilian reef fish, with special attention to endemic species and traditionally neglected taxa and localities (i.e. cryptobenthic fishes and oceanic islands); (2) gather data in a comparatively and taxonomically diverse context to recognize the evolutionary dynamics between the Brazilian province and its oceanic islands fish populations; (3) examine the historical origins of the Brazilian reef ichthyofauna in a macrobiogeographical context. This proposal has the potential to turn the Brazilian Province into a model to address issues of great relevance in the scientific scenario, such as macrobiogeography, island biogeography, and evolution. The proposal will also expand the taxonomic/disciplinary scope of the Research Center for Marine Biodiversity (NP-BioMar, headquartered at CEBIMar), consolidating the research platform on the evolution and biogeography of reef fishes at this institution

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