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Invasion genetics of a freshwater mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) in eastern Europe: high gene flow and multiple introductions.

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      In recent years, the quagga mussel, Dreissena rostriformis bugensis, native to the Dnieper and Bug Limans of the northern Black Sea, has been dispersed by human activities across the basin, throughout much of the Volga River system, and to the Laurentian Great Lakes. We used six published microsatellite markers to survey populations throughout its native and introduced range to identify relationships among potential source populations and introduced ones. Mussels from 12 sites in Eurasia, including the central Caspian Sea and one in North America (Lake Erie), were sampled. Field surveys in the Volga River basin suggested that the species first colonized the middle reach of the river near Kubyshev Reservoir, and thereafter spread both upstream and downstream. Evidence of considerable gene flow among populations was observed and genetic diversity was consistent with a larger, metapopulation that has not experienced bottlenecks or founder effects. We propose that high gene flow, possibly due to multiple invasions, has facilitated establishment of quagga mussel populations in the Volga River system. The Caspian Sea population (D. rostriformis rostriformis (=distincta)) was genetically more distinct than other populations, a finding that may be related to habitat differences. The geographical pattern of genetic divergence is not characteristic of isolation-by-distance but, rather, of long-distance dispersal, most likely mediated by commercial ships' ballast water transfer.

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      Author and article information

      [1] Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
      Heredity (Edinb)
      Jul 2005
      : 95
      : 1


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