Population genetic structure of a microalgal species under expansion. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Biological invasions often cause major perturbations in the environment and are well studied among macroorganisms. Less is known about invasion by free-living microbes. Gonyostomum semen (Raphidophyceae) is a freshwater phytoplankton species that has increased in abundance in Northern Europe since the 1980's and has expanded its habitat range. In this study, we aimed to determine the genetic population structure of G. semen in Northern Europe and to what extent it reflects the species' recent expansion. We sampled lakes from 12 locations (11 lakes) in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Multiple strains from each location were genotyped using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP). We found low differentiation between locations, and low gene diversity within each location. Moreover, there was an absence of genetic isolation with distance (Mantel test, p = 0.50). According to a Bayesian clustering method all the isolates belonged to the same genetic population. Together our data suggest the presence of one metapopulation and an overall low diversity, which is coherent with a recent expansion of G. semen.

publication date

  • 2013