The rate of aquatic invasions by planktonic organisms has increased considerably in recent decades. In order to effectively direct funding and resources to control the spread of such invasions, a methodological framework for identifying high-risk transport vectors, as well as ruling out vectors of lesser concern will be necessary. A number of estuarine ecosystems on the North American Pacific Northwest coast have experienced a series of high impact planktonic invasions that have slowly unfolded across the region in recent decades, most notably, that of the planktonic copepod crustacean Pseudodiaptomus inopinus. Although introduction of P. inopinus to the United States almost certainly occurred through the discharge of ballast water from commercial vessels originating in Asia (the species’ native range), the mechanisms and patterns of subsequent spread remain unknown. In order to elucidate the migration events shaping this invasion, we sampled the genomes of copepods from seven invasive and two native populations using restriction-site associated DNA sequencing. This genetic data was evaluated against spatially-explicit genetic simulation models to evaluate competing scenarios of invasion spread. Our results indicate that invasive populations of P. inopinus exhibit a geographically unstructured genetic composition, likely arising from infrequent and large migration events. This pattern of genetic patchiness was unexpected given the linear geographic structure of the sampled populations, and strongly contrasts with the clear invasion corridors observed in many aquatic systems.
- Aquatic invasions
- Genetic simulation
- Migration/colonization pattern
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics