Genetic diversity of a hitchhiker and prized food source in the anthropocene: The asian green mussel perna viridis (mollusca, mytilidae)

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Insight into a species’ native and introduced range is essential in understanding the invasion process. Genetic diversity, propagule pressure and environmental conditions all have been recognised as playing a determinant role in invasion success. Here, we aimed to investigate the genetic diversity and population genetic structure (using the COI mtDNA gene region and 22 nDNA microsatellite markers) of the Asian green mussel Perna viridis within its potential native range in Asia and at introduced locations in the USA and the Caribbean. We also analyse genetic data from vessel intercepts and an incursion. By doing so, we aimed to identify genetic signatures that could allow to track vessel samples to their source and provide further insight into potential high-risk invasive populations or areas. Three top hierarchical clusters were identified using the individual-based Bayesian clustering method in STRUCTURE, corresponding to populations in three world regions: (1) USA and Caribbean, (2) India and (3) Southeast Asia. Within Southeast Asia, additional analysis indicate a shallow genetic differentiation of three subgroups consisting of (3a) Thailand, (3b) Taiwan and Hong-Kong, and (3c) a cluster of Singapore-Indonesia samples. Overall, the population structure found in this study suggests that the markers used could be useful in identifying source populations, particularly between the three mains world regions. Most surprisingly however, this study shows that the genetic diversity of samples collected from vessel intercepts and incursions did not differ significantly from established populations in Southeast Asia. In this region, in addition to the high vessel connectivity and number of P. viridis transported, all sampled populations are likely to pose a comparable risk in terms of genetic diversity. The present work represents the most comprehensive population genetic study of P. viridis, and the first to address the potential genetic introduction risk posed by populations of this species. The information and genetic markers in this study constitute a valuable addition to the tools already used to infer on potential high-risk source populations of P. viridis. They should therefore prove useful for biosecurity surveillance and management actions directed at this species.

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Biological Invasions





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