Invasion genetics of vendace (Coregonus albula (L.)) in the Inari-Pasvik watercourse: revealing the origin and expansion pattern of a rapid colonization event
Species invasions can have wide-ranging biological and socio-economic effects and are generally unwanted by legislation. Identification of the source population as well as the ecology and genetics of both the invader population and the receiving community is of crucial importance. The rapid invasion of a small coregonid fish vendace (Coregonus albula) in a major northern European subarctic watercourse has resulted in a labile ecological situation in the receiving community. The ecological impact of the invasion has been thoroughly documented, but the genetics of the invasion remains to be explored. We analyzed the genetic diversity and divergence patterns among the two possible source populations from southern Finnish Lapland and three colonists populations within the Inari-Pasvik watercourse using ten microsatellite loci in order to (i) identify the most likely source of the invasion, (ii) reveal the dispersal pattern and genetic structure of the secondary expansion, and (iii) to investigate whether the initial introduction and the secondary expansion were associated with founder effects. We revealed that repeated translocation of vendace from Lake Sinettäjärvi into a tributary lake of L. Inari in 1964–1966 is the most plausible source for the invasion. Both the initial introduction and the secondary expansion were found not to be associated with significant founder effects. The secondary expansion followed a stepping stone pattern and the source and colonist populations of this expansion have undergone rapid genetic divergence within a period of 15–35 years (ca. 8–17 generations). The rapid divergence may be contributed to lack of gene flow among the source and colonist populations due to the extensive hydroelectric damming in the watercourse. Multiple introductions and substantial genetic variation in combination with the boom-and-bust population development of the species thus likely counteracted the founder effects as well as fueled the rapid establishment and expansion of this species within the Inari-Pasvik watercourse.
CitationEcology and Evolution (2012), online before print
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