Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 2123–2135 | Cite as

Spartina versicolor Fabre: Another case of Spartina trans-Atlantic introduction?

  • A. Baumel
  • M. Rousseau-Gueutin
  • C. Sapienza-Bianchi
  • A. Gareil
  • N. Duong
  • H. Rousseau
  • O. Coriton
  • R. Amirouche
  • S. Sciandrello
  • B. Duarte
  • I. Caçador
  • J. M. Castillo
  • M. AinoucheEmail author
Invasive Spartina


Intercontinental introductions are widespread in the genus Spartina, with important ecological and evolutionary consequences. The native or introduced status of Spartina species is then critical with regard to biodiversity assessment, especially for vulnerable Mediterranean coastline ecosystems. Spartina versicolor was first recorded in southern France in 1849, then successively in various places on the European and North-African Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. This species is considered to be either a European native or an invasive species introduced from North America which has a high morphological similarity to the Atlantic American species Spartina patens. We performed extensive sampling of S. versicolor in Europe and North Africa (from natural populations and herbarium collections) and compared these samples to other European and American Spartina species (including S. patens). Chromosome counts were reported for the first time and revealed that S. versicolor is tetraploid (2n = 4x = 40). Phylogenetic analyses based on chloroplast and nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences did not reveal any molecular variation within S. versicolor. In this species, a single haplotype, that is identical to one haplotype of S. patens, was found in the four chloroplast and the nuclear ribosomal ITS regions investigated. In addition, simple sequence repeat markers were used and revealed a low level of genetic diversity within S. versicolor, suggesting that the introduction of S. versicolor occurred from a narrow genetic pool of S. patens from North America.


Cordgrass Genetic diversity Species status Mediterranean Microsatellites Phylogeny 



This work was supported by the “Biological Invasion” Programme of UMR-CNRS Ecobio, University of Rennes 1 (France), the IMBE molecular biology service, the International Associated Laboratory LIA ECOGEN and the Partner University Funds (to M. A.). We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the “Région Bretagne” and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme [FP7-CIG-2013–2017; Grant no. 333709 to M. R-G.]. We thank members of herbaria in France (Herbier Montpellier Université, Herbier du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Marseille, Herbier Paris, Université de Rennes 1) for providing access to historical reference samples, and to the many people who helped us getting plant samples from various places (listed in Supplementary table S1), and most particularly: G. Martin, O. Garsmeur, E. Vela, J-M. Lewin, C. Piazza, J. Xiao Wen Wong, (Old World S. versicolor) M-E. Siqueiros, M. Gross and C. Richards (New World S. patens). The authors also thank D. Ayres and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1128_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 18 kb)
10530_2016_1128_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Baumel
    • 1
  • M. Rousseau-Gueutin
    • 2
    • 3
  • C. Sapienza-Bianchi
    • 2
  • A. Gareil
    • 2
  • N. Duong
    • 1
  • H. Rousseau
    • 2
  • O. Coriton
    • 4
  • R. Amirouche
    • 5
  • S. Sciandrello
    • 6
  • B. Duarte
    • 7
  • I. Caçador
    • 7
  • J. M. Castillo
    • 8
  • M. Ainouche
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Aix Marseille Université, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie (IMBE, UMR CNRS, IRD, Avignon Université)Technopôle de l’Environnement Arbois-MéditerranéeAix-en-Provence Cedex 04France
  2. 2.UMR CNRS 6553 Ecobio, OSUR (Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Rennes)Université de Rennes 1/Université Européenne de BretagneRennesFrance
  3. 3.INRA, UMR 1349Institut de Génétique, Environnement et Protection des PlantesLe Rheu CedexFrance
  4. 4.Plate-Forme de Cytogénétique Moléculaire, INRA, UMR 1349Institut de Génétique, Environnement et Protection des PlantesLe Rheu CedexFrance
  5. 5.Université des Sciences et de la Technologie Houari BoumedieneLaboratoire de Biologie et Physiologie des OrganismesBab-EzzouarAlgeria
  6. 6.Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  7. 7.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences CentreFaculty of Sciences of the University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  8. 8.Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de BiologiaUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain

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