Pérez-Portela, Rocío, Arranz, Vanessa, Rius, Marc and Turon, Xavier
Cryptic speciation or global spread? The case of a cosmopolitan marine invertebrate with limited dispersal capabilities
Scientific Reports, 3, . (doi:10.1038/srep03197).
PDF Pérez-Portela et al. 2013.Sci.Rep.pdf
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The existence of globally-distributed species with low dispersal capabilities is a paradox that has been explained as a result of human-mediated transport and by hidden diversity in the form of unrecognized cryptic species. Both factors are not mutually exclusive, but relatively few studies have demonstrated the presence of both. Here we analyse the genetic patterns of the colonial ascidian Diplosoma listerianum, a species nowadays distributed globally. The study of a fragment of a mitochondrial gene in localities worldwide revealed the existence of multiple cryptic species. In addition, we found a complex geographic structure and multiple clades occurred in sympatry. One of the species showed strong population structure irrespective of geographical distances, which is coherent with stochastic dispersal linked to human transport. The present study shows the complexity of discerning the role of cryptic diversity from human-driven range shifts worldwide, as well as disentangling the effects of natural and artificial dispersal.
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