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      Population genomic structure of the gelatinous zooplankton species Mnemiopsis leidyi in its nonindigenous range in the North Sea

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          Nonindigenous species pose a major threat for coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Risk management requires genetic information to establish appropriate management units and infer introduction and dispersal routes. We investigated one of the most successful marine invaders, the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, and used genotyping‐by‐sequencing (GBS) to explore the spatial population structure in its nonindigenous range in the North Sea. We analyzed 140 specimens collected in different environments, including coastal and estuarine areas, and ports along the coast. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were called in approximately 40 k GBS loci. Population structure based on the neutral SNP panel was significant ( F ST .02; p < .01), and a distinct genetic cluster was identified in a port along the Belgian coast (Ostend port; pairwise F ST .02–.04; p < .01). Remarkably, no population structure was detected between geographically distant regions in the North Sea (the Southern part of the North Sea vs. the Kattegat/Skagerrak region), which indicates substantial gene flow at this geographical scale and recent population expansion of nonindigenous M. leidyi. Additionally, seven specimens collected at one location in the indigenous range (Chesapeake Bay, USA) were highly differentiated from the North Sea populations (pairwise F ST .36–.39; p < .01). This study demonstrates the utility of GBS to investigate fine‐scale population structure of gelatinous zooplankton species and shows high population connectivity among nonindigenous populations of this recently introduced species in the North Sea.


          This article has earned an Open Data Badge for making publicly available the digitally‐shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported results. The data is available at: The DNA sequences generated for this study are deposited in the NCBI sequence read archive under SRA accession numbers SRR6950721–SRR6950884, and will be made publically available upon publication of this manuscript.


          The population genomic structure of the gelatinous zooplankton species Mnemiopsis leidyi in its nonindigenous range in the North Sea was investigated. Two genetically distinct clusters were identified.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Ecological roulette: the global transport of nonindigenous marine organisms.

          Ocean-going ships carry, as ballast, seawater that is taken on in port and released at subsequent ports of call. Plankton samples from Japanese ballast water released in Oregon contained 367 taxa. Most taxa with a planktonic phase in their life cycle were found in ballast water, as were all major marine habitat and trophic groups. Transport of entire coastal planktonic assemblages across oceanic barriers to similar habitats renders bays, estuaries, and inland waters among the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Presence of taxonomically difficult or inconspicuous taxa in these samples suggests that ballast water invasions are already pervasive.
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            Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions.

            Species invasions provide numerous unplanned and frequently, but imperfectly, replicated experiments that can be used to better understand the natural world. Classic studies by Darwin, Grinnell, Elton and others on these species-invasion experiments provided invaluable insights for ecology and evolutionary biology. Recent studies of invasions have resulted in additional insights, six of which we discuss here; these insights highlight the utility of using exotic species as 'model organisms'. We also discuss a nascent hypothesis that might provide a more general, predictive understanding of invasions and community assembly. Finally, we emphasize how the study of invasions can help to inform our understanding of applied problems, such as extinction, ecosystem function and the response of species to climate change.
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              Temperature control of larval dispersal and the implications for marine ecology, evolution, and conservation.

              Temperature controls the rate of fundamental biochemical processes and thereby regulates organismal attributes including development rate and survival. The increase in metabolic rate with temperature explains substantial among-species variation in life-history traits, population dynamics, and ecosystem processes. Temperature can also cause variability in metabolic rate within species. Here, we compare the effect of temperature on a key component of marine life cycles among a geographically and taxonomically diverse group of marine fish and invertebrates. Although innumerable lab studies document the negative effect of temperature on larval development time, little is known about the generality versus taxon-dependence of this relationship. We present a unified, parameterized model for the temperature dependence of larval development in marine animals. Because the duration of the larval period is known to influence larval dispersal distance and survival, changes in ocean temperature could have a direct and predictable influence on population connectivity, community structure, and regional-to-global scale patterns of biodiversity.

                Author and article information

                Ecol Evol
                Ecol Evol
                Ecology and Evolution
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                30 September 2019
                January 2020
                : 10
                : 1 ( doiID: 10.1002/ece3.v10.1 )
                : 11-25
                [ 1 ] Animal Sciences Unit Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) Oostende Belgium
                [ 2 ] Plant Sciences Unit Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) Melle Belgium
                [ 3 ] Department of Biology, Plant Conservation and Population Biology University of Leuven (KUL) Heverlee Belgium
                [ 4 ] Marine Biology Research Group Ghent University Gent Belgium
                [ 5 ] Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Ghent University Zwijnaarde Belgium
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Lies Vansteenbrugge, Animal Sciences Unit, Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO), Ankerstraat 1, 8400 Oostende, Belgium.

                Email: lies.vansteenbrugge@

                © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 3, Pages: 15, Words: 11499
                Original Research
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                January 2020
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.7.5 mode:remove_FC converted:21.01.2020


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