Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genetic structure, diversity, and hybridization in populations of the rare arctic relict Euphrasia hudsoniana (Orobanchaceae) and its invasive congener Euphrasia stricta.

Abstract

Arctic relict populations, which persist in disjunct locations far south of a species' normal range, are at the frontline of climate change and may be especially susceptible to the negative impacts of climate warming. Further, these relict populations may face increasing contact with, or become outcompeted by, invasive species if the invasive taxa are spreading along with the warming climate. Relict populations are simultaneously of particular conservation importance due to their unique genetic make-up and potential for adaptations to warmer temperatures compared to populations at the core of the species range. In this study, we used genotyping-by-sequencing to study the population genetics of Euphrasia hudsoniana, a polyploid arctic disjunct of conservation concern, at the southern edge of its range along the northwestern shore of Lake Superior. In addition, we examined evidence for hybridization with its invasive congener, E. stricta. Overall, we found clear differentiation between the native and invasive species indicated by nearly all analyses. There was limited evidence for gene flow from the invasive into the native species, but patterns were consistent with more extensive gene flow in the opposite direction. Differentiation among native populations was low, yet two of the five populations fell into a separate, distinct group based on STRUCTURE analyses. Continued genetic monitoring of these populations will help elucidate whether hybridization with invasives is a burgeoning threat for this arctic relict.