Multiple introductions and invasion pathways for the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in Eurasia
Author ORCID Identifier
The introduction and spread of non-indigenous species (NIS) in marine ecosystems accelerated during the twentieth century owing to human activities, notably international shipping. Genetic analysis has proven useful in understanding the invasion history and dynamics of colonizing NIS and identifying their source population(s). Here we investigated sequence variation in the nuclear ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer region of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, a species considered one of the most invasive globally. We surveyed four populations from the native distribution range along the Atlantic coasts of the United States and South America, as well as six populations in the introduced range from the Black, Azov, Caspian and Baltic seas. Allelic and nucleotide diversity of introduced populations were comparable to those of native populations from which they were likely drawn. Introduced populations typically exhibited lower genetic differentiation (FST = -0.014-0.421) than native populations (FST = 0.324-0.688). Population genetic analyses supported the invasion of Eurasia from at least two different pathways, the first from the Gulf of Mexico (e.g., Tampa Bay) to the Black Sea and thence to the Caspian Sea, the second from the northern part of the native distribution range (e.g., Narragansett Bay) to the Baltic Sea. The relatively high genetic diversity observed in introduced populations is consistent with large inocula and/or multiple invasions, both of which are possible given ballast water transport and the extensive native distribution of the ctenophore in the Atlantic Ocean. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Ghabooli, S.; Shiganova, T. A.; Zhan, A.; Cristescu, M. E.; Eghtesadi-Araghi, P.; and MacIsaac, Hugh J., "Multiple introductions and invasion pathways for the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in Eurasia" (2011). Biological Invasions, 13, 3, 679-690.