, Volume 158, Issue 4, pp 817-833,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Jan 2011

Mytilus trossulus in Northern Europe


From data on allozyme, nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA markers, we show that the originally North Pacific/Northwest Atlantic mussel Mytilus trossulus is widespread on North European coasts, earliM. trossuluser thought to be inhabited only by Mytilus edulis. Several local occurrences of , interspersed with a dominant M. edulis, were recorded on the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea coasts of Norway and the Barents and White Sea coasts of Kola Peninsula in Russia. The proportion of M. trossulus genetic background observed at any one site varied from 0 to 95%. These new occurrences are not related to the previously known, introgressed M. trossulus population that occupies the Baltic Sea. The new northern occurrences retain both the F and M M. trossulus mitochondria, which have been lost from the Baltic stock. While hybridization takes place wherever M. trossulus and M. edulis meet, the extent of hybrization varies between the different contact areas. Hybrids are rare, and the hybrid zones are bimodal in the northern areas; more interbreeding has taken place further south in Norway, but even there genotypic disequilibria are higher than those in the steep transition zone between the Baltic mussel and M. edulis: there is no evidence of a collapse toward a hybrid swarm unlike in the Baltic. The Barents and White Sea M. trossulus are genetically slightly closer to the NW Atlantic than NE Pacific populations, while the Baltic mussel has unique features distinguishing it from the others. We postulate that the presence of M. trossulus in Northern Europe is a result of repeated independent inter- or transoceanic cryptic invasions of various ages, up to recent times.

Communicated by T. Reusch.