DISCOVER aims to increase the knowledge of the marine biodiversity of Cape Verde, specifically to infer the evolutionary history of the Cabo Verde marine benthic invertebrates, and explore the processes that have contributed to its diversification.
The overall goal of DISCOVER is to generate new data regarding species richness, endemism, and phylogeographical patterns for overlooked benthic groups in overlooked marine ecosystems of Cape Verde. This, added to already published data, will provide a solid multitaxonomic dataset to infer the evolutionary history of the Cabo Verde reef fauna. We will infer main colonization pathways (based on their relationship with Brazilian, Caribbean and Mediterranean provinces) and further explore the processes that have contributed to the diversification of this marine benthic fauna through time and space. We will first focus on sponges, cnidarians, ascidians and crustaceans from semi-dark and dark habitats and mesophotic reefs (up to 100m depth). DISCOVER relies on an oceanographic research cruise during which samples will be collected and further be identified through an integrative taxonomy approach.