The recent spread of Artemia parthenogenetica in Western Australia
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In Western Australia, populations of Artemia parthenogenetica in coastal salt lakes at Rottnest Island and Lake Hayward, and in salterns at Port Hedland and Shark Bay, are widely accepted to have been introduced by humans. Further, within the past 10 years, populations of A. parthenogenetica have been found in inland playa salt lakes in the wheatbelt of south-west Western Australia, where none had been recorded in previous salt lake studies. Here we hypothesise that birds act as transport vectors for Artemia cysts both within Australia and between the Asian and Australian continents. Allozyme analysis was used to identify clonal types (multi-locus genotypes), clonal frequencies, genotypic diversities and genotypic identity of six populations (three coastal, three inland).
Overall, the inland populations displayed almost identical genotypic structure to the coastal population from Lake Hayward, indicating that Lake Hayward could be the major source for dispersal and colonisation of inland populations. Results support the hypothesis of dispersal inland by nomadic bird species. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the inland and Lake Hayward populations may be an example of a metapopulation.
The greater variety of genotypes present in the Rottnest population indicates that this population has received a large number of small immigrations, or that it received one large introduction. The former may indicate a long period of suitable salinities, providing a greater time-span over which migration and succession of clonal types could occur in comparison to other populations. While we cannot rule out the possibility of human introduction of A. parthenogenetica to Rottnest, the hypothesis of cyst dispersal along the Austral-Asian flyway remains possible.
KeywordsClones Genotypes Immigration Secondary salinisation
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