Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Distribution modelling of an introduced species: do adaptive genetic markers affect potential range?

Abstract

Biological invasions have increased in the last few decades mostly due to anthropogenic causes such as globalization of trade. Because invaders sometimes cause large economic losses and ecological disturbances, estimating their origin and potential geographical ranges is useful. Drosophila subobscura is native to the Old World but was introduced in the New World in the late 1970s and spread widely. We incorporate information on adaptive genetic markers into ecological niche modelling and then estimate the most probable geographical source of colonizers; evaluate whether the genetic bottleneck experienced by founders affects their potential distribution; and finally test whether this species has spread to all its potential suitable habitats worldwide. We find the environmental space occupied by this species in its native and introduced distributions are notably the same, although the introduced niche has shifted slightly towards higher temperature and lower precipitation. The genetic bottleneck of founding individuals was a key factor limiting the spread of this introduced species. We also find that regions in the Mediterranean and north-central Portugal show the highest probability of being the origin of the colonizers. Using genetically informed environmental niche modelling can enhance our understanding of the initial colonization and spread of invasive species, and also elucidate potential areas of future expansions worldwide.