Marine Biology

, 164:47 | Cite as

Reconstructing the Invasion History of the Asian shorecrab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus (De Haan 1835) in the Western Atlantic

  • April M. H. BlakesleeEmail author
  • Yumi Kamakura
  • Jaclyn Onufrey
  • Wataru Makino
  • Jotaro Urabe
  • Susan Park
  • Carolyn L. Keogh
  • A. Whitman Miller
  • Mark S. Minton
  • James T. Carlton
  • Osamu Miura
Original paper


Numerous marine species have been introduced via anthropogenic vectors; however, many species, including highly abundant ones, have uncertain invasion histories. Here, we include the first large-scale population genetics study of the Asian shorecrab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) in native (east Asia) and non-native (east USA) regions to help resolve questions of source, vector, and multiple introductions. Using a barcoding gene and six microsatellite loci, we analyzed 731 cytochrome oxidase I sequences and 500 microsatellites across 51 populations over two time periods, 2001–2002 and 2013–2014. Explorations of both genetic and historical data indicated that multiple introductions to USA are probable with the greatest genetic diversity concentrating around Long Island (near New York City). Analyses of ballast water flux and genetic data suggest that introductions from Japan via shipping are the likely source and pathway of introduction to USA. In particular, we found unexchanged ballast arriving to USA (notably New York region) from sources throughout Japan, including southern and northern areas where closer genetic connections to USA were detected. Western Europe was also a prominent source of unexchanged ballast, suggesting possible trans-Atlantic transfers. Altogether, extensive biogeographic studies like this help provide integral evidence for resolving key invasion history questions, as well as a baseline understanding of a species’ probable success and prospect for further spread. In turn, while mandatory ballast water exchange in USA has greatly lessened ballast-borne invasions, our study underscores that hotspots of unexchanged ballast can remain potential sources of novel or supplemental introductions worldwide.


Allelic Richness Ballast Water Multiple Introduction Invasion History Ballast Tank 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the following for their lab/field help: K. Bartley, A. Fowler, A. Freeman, Z. Holmes, I. Kernin, S. Kulins, M. Roy, and M. Sanderson. We thank J. McDermott for sending us two preserved 1996 samples. O. Miura was partly supported by the “Program to Disseminate Tenure Tracking System”, MEXT, Japanese Government, and facilitated by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 25840160.  J. Urabe, W. Makino, and O. Miura were supported by the “Tohoku Ecosystem-Associated Marine Science”, MEXT. C. Keogh was supported by a NSF GRF and a JSPS Short Term Fellowship. J. Onufrey was a 2014 semi-finalist for the National Intel Talent Search Program mentored by A. Blakeslee, while she attended Wantagh High School (Wantagh, NY). We thank Long Island University-Post for their support and facilities during that mentorship. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive suggestions that greatly improved our manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of the marine invertebrate animals in this study were followed. There were no human participants in this study.

Supplementary material

227_2017_3069_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (415 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 414 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • April M. H. Blakeslee
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yumi Kamakura
    • 3
  • Jaclyn Onufrey
    • 4
  • Wataru Makino
    • 5
  • Jotaro Urabe
    • 5
  • Susan Park
    • 6
  • Carolyn L. Keogh
    • 7
  • A. Whitman Miller
    • 2
  • Mark S. Minton
    • 2
  • James T. Carlton
    • 8
  • Osamu Miura
    • 9
  1. 1.BiologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Marine Invasions LaboratorySmithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of AgricultureKochi UniversityKochiJapan
  4. 4.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  6. 6.Coastal and Estuarine Research FederationSeattleUSA
  7. 7.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  8. 8.Williams CollegeMystic Seaport Maritime Studies ProgramMysticUSA
  9. 9.Science Research CenterKochi UniversityKochiJapan

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