Worldwide phylogeography of the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi (Ctenophora) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA data
The ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi is one of the most successful marine bioinvaders on record. Native to the Atlantic coast of the Americas, M. leidyi invaded the Black Sea, Caspian and Mediterranean Seas beginning the in late 1980s, followed by the North and Baltic Seas starting in 2006, with major concomitant alterations in pelagic ecology, including fishery collapses in some cases. Using extensive native range sampling (21 sites), along with 11 invasive sites in the Black, Caspian, Mediterranean, North and Baltic Seas, we examined M. leidyi worldwide phylogeographic patterns using data from mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) and six nuclear microsatellite loci. Cytb and microsatellite data sets showed different levels of genetic differentiation in the native range. Analyses of cytb data revealed considerable genetic differentiation, recovering three major clusters (northwestern Atlantic, Caribbean, and South America) and further divided northwestern Atlantic sampling sites into three groups, separated approximately at Cape Hatteras on the US Atlantic coast and at the Floridian peninsula, separating the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. In contrast, microsatellite data only distinguished samples north and south of Cape Hatteras, and suggested considerable gene flow among native samples with clear evidence of isolation by distance. Both cytb and microsatellite data sets indicated that the northern invaders (North/Baltic Seas) originated from north of Cape Hatteras, with cytb data pointing to Delaware and north. Microsatellite data indicated a source for the southern invaders (Black, Caspian and Mediterranean Seas) to be south of Cape Hatteras, while cytb data narrowed the source location to the Gulf of Mexico region. Both cytb and microsatellite data sets suggested that the southern invasion was associated with genetic bottlenecks while evidence was equivocal for the northern invasion. By increasing the native range spatial sampling, our dataset was able to sufficiently characterize patterns and levels of genetic differentiation in the native range of M. leidyi and identify likely biogeographic boundaries, allowing for the most complete characterization of M. leidyi’s invasion histories and most realistic estimates of its source region(s) to date.
Bayha, KM; Chang, MH; Mariani, CL; Richardson, JL; Edwards, DL; DeBoer, TS; Moseley, C; Aksoy, E; Decker, MB; Gaffney, PM; Harbison, GR; McDonald, JH; Caccone, A
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)