Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Interplay between historical and current features of the cityscape in shaping the genetic structure of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) in Dakar (Senegal, West Africa).

Abstract

Population genetic approaches may be used to investigate dispersal patterns of species living in highly urbanized environment in order to improve management strategies for biodiversity conservation or pest control. However, in such environment, population genetic structure may reflect both current features of the cityscape and urbanization history. This can be especially relevant when focusing on exotic commensal rodents that have been introduced in numerous primary colonial European settlements. Accounting for spatial and temporal cityscape heterogeneity to determine how past and recent demographic events may interplay to shape current population genetic structure of synanthropic rodents may provide useful insights to manage their populations. In this study, we addressed these issues by focusing on the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, in Dakar, Senegal, where the species may have been introduced as soon as Europeans settled in the middle of the nineteenth century. We examined genetic variation at one mitochondrial locus and 15 nuclear microsatellite markers from individuals sampled in 14 sampling sites representing different stages of urbanization history and different socio-economic environments in Dakar. We used various approaches, including model-based genetic clustering and model-free smoothing of pairwise genetic estimates. We further linked observed spatial genetic patterns to historical and current features of Dakar cityscape using random forest and Bayesian conditional autoregressive models. Results are consistent with an introduction of the house mouse at colonial time and the current genetic structure exhibits a gradient-like pattern reflecting the historical process of spatially continuous expansion of the city from the first European settlement. The genetic patterns further suggest that population dynamics of the house mouse is also driven by the spatial heterogeneity of the current cityscape, including socio-economics features, that translate in habitat quality. Our results highlight the potential importance of accounting for past demographic events to understand spatial genetic patterns of nonnative invasive commensal rodents in highly urbanized environment.