Unravelling the invasion pathways of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis) into Western Europe

Abstract

Genetic tools have been extremely useful to study the colonization history and dynamics of invasive species and infer source populations. In addition, understanding the distribution of genetic diversity of non-indigenous species is important to understand factors contributing to invasive success. Here, we used genetic markers to study the invasion history of the quagga mussel Dreissena rostriformis (Deshayes 1838). The invasion of North American and European watercourses by the quagga mussel is of major concern since this dreissenid mussel has widespread ecological and economic impacts in invaded regions. Through the use of mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (microsatellites) markers and based on a large sampling, including both native and invasive ranges, we characterized the recent invasion of Western Europe by D. rostriformis. Scenario testing Bayesian analysis (approximate Bayesian computation methods) suggests that Western Europe was most probably invaded from the Pontic region via the southern corridor (Danube River, the Main-Danube Canal and the Main and Rhine rivers). Furthermore, pairwise F ST values suggest a second invasion to Western Europe from North America via trans-Atlantic shipping. The high genetic diversity and low differentiation among D. rostriformis populations suggest high propagule pressure and frequent exchanges between the Pontic region, Eastern North America and Western Europe. Our study concludes that multiple introductions and high propagule pressure have shaped the genetic composition of populations in Western Europe. The results provide valuable information for future management plans in order to control the spread of highly invasive aquatic species.

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Acknowledgments

Samples were generously provided by Oana Popa, Abraham bij de Vaate, Jean-Nicolas Beisel, Laure Giamberini, Thomas Nalepa, Colin Van Overdijk, Kristen Holeck, Robert F McMahon, Ashlie Watters, Beth Parvis, Zoltan P Erőss, Zoltan Feher, Luis Popa, Bela Csányi, Zoltan Szalóky, József Szekeres and Igor A Grigorovich. We thank Lyubov Burlakova for the helpful conversation on the central corridor we had during the 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species. We would also like to thank four anonymous reviewers and the editor for their suggestions that improved the early version of this manuscript. This study received financial support from the University of Namur. Katharina C M von Oheimb was financially supported by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU). Jonathan Marescaux is funded by a PhD grant from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS).

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Marescaux, J., von Oheimb, K.C.M., Etoundi, E. et al. Unravelling the invasion pathways of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis) into Western Europe. Biol Invasions 18, 245–264 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-015-1005-1

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Keywords

  • Approximate Bayesian computation
  • Dreissena rostriformis
  • Quagga mussel
  • Phylogeography
  • Population genetics