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Tracking invasion histories in the sea: facing complex scenarios using multilocus data

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In recent years, new analytical tools have allowed researchers to extract historical information contained in molecular data, which has fundamentally transformed our understanding of processes ruling biological invasions. However, the use of these new analytical tools has been largely restricted to studies of terrestrial organisms despite the growing recognition that the sea contains ecosystems that are amongst the most heavily affected by biological invasions, and that marine invasion histories are often remarkably complex. Here, we studied the routes of invasion and colonisation histories of an invasive marine invertebrate Microcosmus squamiger (Ascidiacea) using microsatellite loci, mitochondrial DNA sequence data and 11 worldwide populations. Discriminant analysis of principal components, clustering methods and approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) methods showed that the most likely source of the introduced populations was a single admixture event that involved populations from two genetically differentiated ancestral regions - the western and eastern coasts of Australia. The ABC analyses revealed that colonisation of the introduced range of M. squamiger consisted of a series of non-independent introductions along the coastlines of Africa, North America and Europe. Furthermore, we inferred that the sequence of colonisation across continents was in line with historical taxonomic records - first the Mediterranean Sea and South Africa from an unsampled ancestral population, followed by sequential introductions in California and, more recently, the NE Atlantic Ocean. We revealed the most likely invasion history for world populations of M. squamiger, which is broadly characterized by the presence of multiple ancestral sources and non-independent introductions within the introduced range. The results presented here illustrate the complexity of marine invasion routes and identify a cause-effect relationship between human-mediated transport and the success of widespread marine non-indigenous species, which benefit from stepping-stone invasions and admixture processes involving different sources for the spread and expansion of their range.

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Rius, Marc, Turon, Xavier, Ordóñez, Víctor and Pascual, Marta (2012) Tracking invasion histories in the sea: facing complex scenarios using multilocus data PLoS ONE, 7, (4), e35815. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035815).

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Published date: 24 April 2012
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems


Local EPrints ID: 354670
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 0d914a9d-d20c-4d14-96a9-7794f396078e

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Date deposited: 17 Jul 2013 10:44
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:54

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Author: Marc Rius
Author: Xavier Turon
Author: Víctor Ordóñez
Author: Marta Pascual

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