1) Amphibians from Amazonia: Phylogenetic, functional diversity and knowledge gaps
In this ongoing project, we aim to synthesize the current knowledge about amphibian diversity, geographic distribution, and natural history in the Amazon forest in order to identify knowledge gaps and understand the variation of the functional and phylogenetic diversity through environmental and geographical gradients. The research is part of my CAPES Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Postgraduate Program in Tropical Biodiversity of the Federal University of Amapá - UNIFAP, and it is supervised by Dr. Fernanda Michalski (UNIFAP). Other collaborators are Dr. Carlos Eduardo Costa-Campos (UNIFAP) and Dr. Danilo Neves (Federal University of Mina Gerais - UFMG).
2) Colors hidden in the forest: evolutionary genomics of color patterns in Neotropical frogs
The proposed research seeks to investigate the genetic bases and evolutionary processes underlying color variation in amphibians, taking the members of the Phyllomedusa burmeisteri species group as a model. To this end, we will 1) perform a genome-wide association analysis using high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques, including exome capture and RNA sequencing; 2) study gene expression of associated genes in several developmental stages; and 3) investigate patterns of allele frequency change across the contact zone for causative loci and randomly chosen markers. Beyond these specific goals, we are convinced that the genomic data generated for the target species will be an important resource for further evolutionary studies, conservation efforts, and in particular for human medicinal research, since phyllomedusids are a rich source of peptides with great nanobiotechnological applications. With an International team of researchers with complementary skills and expertise, with 10-years' experience in developing joint research, we expect to be at the forefront of this underexplored evolutionary field, publishing articles in leading international journals and produce outreach publications for enhancing awareness and/or disseminating research based information to the general public.
3) Taxonomic review and phylogenetic study of the Ischnocnema guentheri species series (Anura: Brachycephalidae)
In order to elucidate the species limits among the members of the Ischnocnema guentheri series, we aim to put several lines of evidence together: we gathered morphological, bioacoustic, Sanger, and high-throughput sequencing data from all over the known distribution of the I. guentheri series, the Atlantic Forest in South and Southeastern Brazil. We will also use molecular data to test the monophyly of the I. guentheri series, as well as its phylogenetic relationships with the other species series within the genus. The taxonomy of this species series has been exhaustively discussed over the years and its phylogenetic position is quite unstable. The Neotropical frog genus Ischnocnema comprises 38 species divided into five species series, and the I. guentheri series houses 10 species distributed throughout seven Brazilian states and adjacent Argentina. This project counts on the collaboration of Dr. Clarissa Canedo (Rio de Janeiro State University - UERJ), Dr. Michael Hickerson (The City College of New York - CCNY), Dr. Miguel Vences (Technical University of Braunschweig ), and it is supervised by Dr. Célio Haddad (São Paulo State University - UNESP). The project was my Ph.D. dissertation, and you can see some of its results in the Publications & CV tab.
4) Evolution of acoustic mating signals in the Neotropical frog genus Adenomera (Anura, Leptodactylidae, Leptodactylinae)
The main goal of this project is to conduct an in-depth acoustic analysis of the advertisement calls of the Neotropical frog genus Adenomera, seeking for phylogenetic signal, and associations or correlations with the pre-existing differences observed in its call characters in a comparative framework (Phylogenetic Comparative Methods). In order to do it, we already have advertisement calls for almost all described Adenomera species and we will conduct our evolutionary analyses based on a new phylogenetic hypothesis, constructed with all available molecular data for the genus under the coalescent model. These analyses will be vital to the understanding of the evolution of the acoustic communication among the members of Adenomera, a South American frog group currently comprising 19 described species. This project is led by Dr. Thiago R. de Carvalho (São Paulo State University - UNESP).