Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Local environment-driven adaptive evolution in a marine invasive ascidian (Molgula manhattensis).

Abstract

Elucidating molecular mechanisms of environment-driven adaptive evolution in marine invaders is crucial for understanding invasion success and further predicting their future invasions. Although increasing evidence suggests that adaptive evolution could contribute to organisms' adaptation to varied environments, there remain knowledge gaps regarding how environments influence genomic variation in invaded habitats and genetic bases underlying local adaptation for most marine invaders. Here, we performed restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) to assess population genetic diversity and further investigate genomic signatures of local adaptation in the marine invasive ascidian, Molgula manhattensis. We revealed that most invasive populations exhibited significant genetic differentiation, low recent gene flow, and no signal of significant population bottleneck. Based on three genome scan approaches, we identified 109 candidate loci potentially under environmental selection. Redundancy analysis and variance partitioning analysis suggest that local environmental factors, particularly the salinity-related variables, represent crucial evolutionary forces in driving adaptive divergence. Using the newly developed transcriptome as a reference, 14 functional genes were finally obtained with potential roles in salinity adaptation, including SLC5A1 and SLC9C1 genes from the solute carrier gene (SLC) superfamily. Our findings confirm that differed local environments could rapidly drive adaptive divergence among invasive populations and leave detectable genomic signatures in marine invaders.