skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Population genomic and historical analysis suggests a global invasion by bridgehead processes in Mimulus guttatus
Abstract Imperfect historical records and complex demographic histories present challenges for reconstructing the history of biological invasions. Here, we combine historical records, extensive worldwide and genome-wide sampling, and demographic analyses to investigate the global invasion of Mimulus guttatus from North America to Europe and the Southwest Pacific. By sampling 521 plants from 158 native and introduced populations genotyped at >44,000 loci, we determined that invasive M. guttatus was first likely introduced to the British Isles from the Aleutian Islands (Alaska), followed by admixture from multiple parts of the native range. We hypothesise that populations in the British Isles then served as a bridgehead for vanguard invasions worldwide. Our results emphasise the highly admixed nature of introduced M. guttatus and demonstrate the potential of introduced populations to serve as sources of secondary admixture, producing novel hybrids. Unravelling the history of biological invasions provides a starting point to understand how invasive populations adapt to novel environments.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Communications Biology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Historical horticultural plant sales influence native and nonnative species assemblages in contemporary ecosystems. Over half of nonnative, invasive plants naturalized in the United States were introduced as ornamentals, and the spatial and temporal patterns of early introduction undoubtedly influence current invasion ecology. While thousands of digitized nursery catalogs documenting these introductions are publicly available, they have not been standardized in a single database. To fill this gap, we obtained the names of all plant taxa (species, subspecies, and varieties) present in the Biodiversity Heritage Library's (BHL) Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection. We then searched the BHL database for these names and downloaded all available records. We combined BHL records with data from an encyclopedia of heirloom ornamental plants to create a single database of historical nursery sales in the US. Each record represents an individual taxon offered for sale at an individual time in a specific nursery's catalog. We standardized records to the current World Flora Online ( accepted taxonomy and appended accepted USDA code, growth habit, and introduction status. We also appended whether taxa were reported as invasive in the Global Plant Invaders (GPI) data set or the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) or regulated in the conterminous US. Lastly, we geocoded all reported publication locations. The data set contains 2,445,875 records from nurseries in at least 2795 unique locations, with the majority of catalogs published between 1890 and 1950. Nurseries were located in all conterminous states but were concentrated in the eastern US and California. We identified 19,140 unique horticultural taxa, of which 8642 matched taxa in the USDA Plants database. The USDA Plants database is limited to native and naturalized taxa in the US. Native or introduced status was listed in USDA Plants for 7018 of included taxa, while 1642 had an unknown status. The remaining 10,498 taxa are not naturalized according to USDA Plants or are of varieties of native and introduced taxa that did not match USDA Plants taxonomy. The majority of taxa in the Historical Plant Sales (HPS) database with an identified status are native (65.5%; 4596 of 7018 taxa), of which 393 taxa are reported as invasive outside of the US. Of the 2381 introduced taxa, 1103 (46.3%) are reported as invasive somewhere globally. Despite a richer pool of native taxa, most cataloged plant records with an identified status were of introduced taxa (54.1%; 1,045,684 of 1,933,925 records). Plants reported as invasive somewhere globally comprised a large portion of records with an identified status (38.7%; 747,953 of 1,933,925 records) underscoring the large role of ornamental introductions in facilitating plant invasions. The HPS database provides a consolidated and standardized perspective on the history of native, introduced, and invasive plant sales in the US. We release these data into the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero license waiver ( Individuals who use these data for publication may cite the associated data paper.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Invasive species are a major threat to global biodiversity, yet also represent large‐scale unplanned ecological and evolutionary experiments to address fundamental questions in nature. Here we analyzed both native and invasive populations of predatory northern pike (Esox lucius) to characterize landscape genetic variation, determine the most likely origins of introduced populations, and investigate a presumably postglacial population from Southeast Alaska of unclear provenance. Using a set of 4329 SNPs from 351 individual Alaskan northern pike representing the most widespread geographic sampling to date, our results confirm low levels of genetic diversity in native populations (average 𝝅 of 3.18 × 10−4) and even less in invasive populations (average 𝝅 of 2.68 × 10−4) consistent with bottleneck effects. Our analyses indicate that invasive northern pike likely came from multiple introductions from different native Alaskan populations and subsequently dispersed from original introduction sites. At the broadest scale, invasive populations appear to have been founded from two distinct regions of Alaska, indicative of two independent introduction events. Genetic admixture resulting from introductions from multiple source populations may have mitigated the negative effects associated with genetic bottlenecks in this species with naturally low levels of genetic diversity. Genomic signatures strongly suggest an excess of rare, population‐specific alleles, pointing to a small number of founding individuals in both native and introduced populations consistent with a species' life history of limited dispersal and gene flow. Lastly, the results strongly suggest that a small isolated population of pike, located in Southeast Alaska, is native in origin rather than stemming from a contemporary introduction event. Although theory predicts that lack of genetic variation may limit colonization success of novel environments, we detected no evidence that a lack of standing variation limited the success of this genetically depauperate apex predator.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract Background

    The harlequin ladybirdHarmonia axyridis(Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), native to Asia, has been introduced to other major continents where it has caused serious negative impacts on local biodiversity. Though notable advances to understand its invasion success have been made during the past decade, especially with then newer molecular tools, the conclusions reached remain to be confirmed with more advanced genomic analyses and especially using more samples from larger geographical regions across the native range. Furthermore, althoughH. axyridisis one of the best studied invasive insect species with respect to life history traits (often comparing invasive and native populations), the traits responsible for its colonization success in non-native areas warrant more research.


    Our analyses of genome-wide nuclear population structure indicated that an eastern Chinese population could be the source of all non-native populations and revealed several putatively adaptive candidate genomic loci involved in body color variation, visual perception, and hemolymph synthesis. Our estimates of evolutionary history indicate (1) asymmetric migration with varying population sizes across its native and non-native range, (2) a recent admixture between eastern Chinese and American populations in Europe, (3) signatures of a large progressive, historical bottleneck in the common ancestors of both populations and smaller effective sizes of the non-native population, and (4) the southwest origin and subsequent dispersal routes within its native range in China. In addition, we found that while two mitochondrial haplotypes-Hap1 and Hap2 were dominant in the native range, Hap1 was the only dominant haplotype in the non-native range. Our laboratory observations in both China and USA found statistical yet slight differences between Hap1 and Hap2 in some of life history traits.


    Our study onH.axyridisprovides new insights into its invasion processes into other major continents from its native Asian range, reconstructs a geographic range evolution across its native region China, and tentatively suggests that its invasiveness may differ between mitochondrial haplotypes.

    more » « less
  4. Understanding the mechanisms governing biological invasions has implications for population dynamics, biodiversity, and community assembly. The enemy escape hypothesis posits that escape from enemies such as herbivores and predators that were limiting in the native range helps explain rapid spread in the introduced range. While the enemy escape hypothesis has been widely tested aboveground, data limitations have prevented comparisons of belowground mechanisms for invasive and noninvasive introduced species, which limits our understanding of why only some introduced species become invasive. We assessed the role of soil biota in driving plant invasions in a phylogenetic meta−analysis, incorporating phylogeny in the error structure of the models, and comparing live and sterilized conditioned soils. We found 29 studies and 396 effect size estimates across 103 species that compared live and sterilized soils. We found general positive effects of soil biota for plants (0.099, 95% CI = 0.0266, 0.1714), consistent with a role of soil mutualists. The effect size of soil biota among invaders was 3.2× higher than for natives, the strength of effects was weaker for older conditioning species with a longer introduced history, and enemy escape was stronger for distant relatives. In addition, invasive species had a weaker allocation tradeoff than natives. By demonstrating that the net effect of soil biota is more positive for invasive than native and noninvasive introduced species, weakens over time since introduction, and strengthens as phylogenetic distance increasing, we provide mechanistic insights into the considerable role of soil biota in biological invasions, consistent with the predictions of the enemy escape hypothesis. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The movement of plant species across the globe exposes native communities to new species introductions. While introductions are pervasive, two aspects of variability underlie patterns and processes of biological invasions at macroecological scales. First, only a portion of introduced species become invaders capable of substantially impacting ecosystems. Second, species that do become invasive at one location may not be invasive in others; impacts depend on invader abundance and recipient species and conditions. Accounting for these phenomena is essential to accurately understand the patterns of plant invasion and explain the idiosyncratic results reflected in the literature on biological invasions. The lack of community‐level richness and the abundance of data spanning broad scales and environmental conditions have until now hindered our understanding of invasions at a macroecological scale. To address this limitation, we leveraged quantitative surveys of plant communities in the USA and integrated and harmonized nine datasets into the Standardized Plant Community with Introduced Status (SPCIS) database. The database contains 14,056 unique taxa identified within 83,391 sampling units, of which 52.6% have at least one introduced species. The SPCIS database includes comparable information on plant species occurrence, abundance, and native status across the 50 U.S. States and Puerto Rico. SPCIS can be used to answer macro‐scale questions about native plant communities and interactions with invasive plants. There are no copyright restrictions on the data, and we ask the users of this dataset to cite this paper, the respective paper(s) corresponding to the dataset sampling design (all references are provided in Data S1: Metadata S1: Class II‐B‐2), and the references described in Data S1: Metadata S1: Class III‐B‐4 as applicable to the dataset being utilized.

    more » « less