Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 1–6

How to Use Genetic Data to Distinguish Between Natural and Human-Mediated Introduction of Littorina littorea to North America

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-007-9099-8

Cite this article as:
Cunningham, C.W. Biol Invasions (2008) 10: 1. doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9099-8

Abstract

The rapid range southward expansion of the periwinkle Littorina littorea from the Canadian maritimes has fueled a long-running debate over whether this species was introduced to North America by human activity. A reappraisal of the mitochondrial DNA sequence evidence finds considerable endemic allelic diversity in the American population. The degree of endemic genetic diversity is higher than expected from human-mediated colonization, but not so much to suggest that it survived the last glacial maximum in America. Coalescent estimates of population divergence agree that colonization of America preceded European contact. A reappraisal of the ITS nuclear sequence data finds extensive recombination. Taking this recombination into account strengthens the genetic case against human-mediated introduction. Finally, a reappraisal of conflicting allozyme studies from the 1970’s supports a claim of limited divergence between American and European populations. This is consistent with post-glacial colonization, but the allozyme data cannot distinguish between natural or human-mediated colonization. Taken as a whole, the DNA sequence data supports the many sub-fossil reports of an American L. littorea population in the Canadian maritimes that preceded even the first visits by the Vikings.

Keywords

Haplotypes diversity Invasive Species ITS Mitochondrial DNA 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentDuke UniversityNorth CarolinaUSA