The Story of a Hitchhiker: Population Genetic Patterns in the Invasive Barnacle Balanus(Amphibalanus) improvisus Darwin 1854.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the ecological and evolutionary forces that determine the genetic structure and spread of invasive species is a key component of invasion biology. The bay barnacle, Balanus improvisus (= Amphibalanus improvisus), is one of the most successful aquatic invaders worldwide, and is characterised by broad environmental tolerance. Although the species can spread through natural larval dispersal, human-mediated transport through (primarily) shipping has almost certainly contributed to the current global distribution of this species. Despite its worldwide distribution, little is known about the phylogeography of this species. Here, we characterize the population genetic structure and model dispersal dynamics of the barnacle B. improvisus, and describe how human-mediated spreading via shipping as well as natural larval dispersal may have contributed to observed genetic variation. We used both mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I: COI) and nuclear microsatellites to characterize the genetic structure in 14 populations of B. improvisus on a global and regional scale (Baltic Sea). Genetic diversity was high in most populations, and many haplotypes were shared among populations on a global scale, indicating that long-distance dispersal (presumably through shipping and other anthropogenic activities) has played an important role in shaping the population genetic structure of this cosmopolitan species. We could not clearly confirm prior claims that B. improvisus originates from the western margins of the Atlantic coasts; although there were indications that Argentina could be part of a native region. In addition to dispersal via shipping, we show that natural larval dispersal may play an important role for further colonisation following initial introduction.
Project description:Barnacle settlement involves sensing of a variety of exogenous cues. A pair of antennules is the main sensory organ that the cyprid larva uses to explore the surface. Antennules are equipped with a number of setae that have both chemo- and mechanosensing function. The current study explores the repertoire of sensory receptors in Balanus improvisus cyprid antennules with the goal to better understand sensory systems involved in the settling behavior of this species. We carried out transcriptome sequencing of dissected B. improvisus cyprid antennules. The generated transcriptome assembly was used to search for sensory receptors using HMM models. Among potential chemosensory genes, we identified the ionotropic receptors IR25a, IR8a and IR93a, and several divergent IR candidates to be expressed in the cyprid antennules. We found one gustatory-like receptor but no odorant receptors, chemosensory or odorant-binding proteins. Apart from chemosensory receptors, we also identified 13 potential mechanosensory genes represented by several transient receptor potential channels (TRP) subfamilies. Furthermore, we analyzed changes in expression profiles of IRs and TRPs during the B. improvisus settling process. Several of the sensory genes were differentially expressed during the course of larval settlement. This study gives expanded knowledge about the sensory systems present in barnacles, a taxonomic group for which only limited information about receptors is currently available. It furthermore serves as a starting point for more in depth studies of how sensory signaling affects settling behavior in barnacles with implications for preventing biofouling.
Project description:The euryhaline bay barnacle Balanus improvisus has one of the broadest salinity tolerances of any barnacle species. It is able to complete its life cycle in salinities close to freshwater (3 PSU) up to fully marine conditions (35 PSU) and is regarded as one of few truly brackish-water species. Na?/K? ATPase (NAK) has been shown to be important for osmoregulation when marine organisms are challenged by changing salinities, and we therefore cloned and examined the expression of different NAKs from B. improvisus. We found two main gene variants, NAK1 and NAK2, which were approximately 70% identical at the protein level. The NAK1 mRNA existed in a long and short variant with the encoded proteins differing only by 27 N-terminal amino acids. This N-terminal stretch was coded for by a separate exon, and the two variants of NAK1 mRNAs appeared to be created by alternative splicing. We furthermore showed that the two NAK1 isoforms were differentially expressed in different life stages and in various tissues of adult barnacle, i.e the long isoform was predominant in cyprids and in adult cirri. In barnacle cyprid larvae that were exposed to a combination of different salinities and pCO2 levels, the expression of the long NAK1 mRNA increased relative to the short in low salinities. We suggest that the alternatively spliced long variant of the Nak1 protein might be of importance for osmoregulation in B. improvisus in low salinity conditions.
Project description:Barnacles are sessile macro-invertebrates, found along rocky shores in coastal areas worldwide. The euryhaline bay barnacle Balanus improvisus (Darwin, 1854) (= Amphibalanus improvisus) can tolerate a wide range of salinities, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the osmoregulatory capacity of this truly brackish species are not well understood. Aquaporins are pore-forming integral membrane proteins that facilitate transport of water, small solutes and ions through cellular membranes, and that have been shown to be important for osmoregulation in many organisms. The knowledge of the function of aquaporins in crustaceans is, however, limited and nothing is known about them in barnacles. We here present the repertoire of aquaporins from a thecostracan crustacean, the barnacle B. improvisus, based on genome and transcriptome sequencing. Our analyses reveal that B. improvisus contains eight genes for aquaporins. Phylogenetic analysis showed that they represented members of the classical water aquaporins (Aqp1, Aqp2), the aquaglyceroporins (Glp1, Glp2), the unorthodox aquaporin (Aqp12) and the arthropod-specific big brain aquaporin (Bib). Interestingly, we also found two big brain-like proteins (BibL1 and BibL2) constituting a new group of aquaporins not yet described in arthropods. In addition, we found that the two water-specific aquaporins were expressed as C-terminal splice variants. Heterologous expression of some of the aquaporins followed by functional characterization showed that Aqp1 transported water and Glp2 water and glycerol, agreeing with the predictions of substrate specificity based on 3D modeling and phylogeny. To investigate a possible role for the B. improvisus aquaporins in osmoregulation, mRNA expression changes in adult barnacles were analysed after long-term acclimation to different salinities. The most pronounced expression difference was seen for AQP1 with a substantial (>100-fold) decrease in the mantle tissue in low salinity (3 PSU) compared to high salinity (33 PSU). Our study provides a base for future mechanistic studies on the role of aquaporins in osmoregulation.
Project description:Temperature and salinity shape the distribution and genetic structure of marine communities. Future warming and freshening will exert an additional stress to coastal marine systems. The extent to which organisms respond to these shifts will, however, be mediated by the tolerances of all life-stages and populations of species and their potential to adapt. We investigated nauplius and cypris larvae of the barnacle Balanus (Amphibalanus) improvisus from the Swedish west coast with respect to temperature (12, 20, and 28 °C) and salinity (5, 15, and 30) tolerances. Warming accelerated larval development and increased overall survival and subsequent settlement success. Nauplii developed and metamorphosed best at intermediate salinity. This was also observed in cypris larvae when the preceding nauplii stages had been reared at a salinity of 30. Direct comparisons of the present findings with those on a population from the more brackish Baltic Sea demonstrate contrasting patterns. We conclude that i) B. improvisus larvae within the Baltic region will be favoured by near-future seawater warming and freshening, that ii) salinity tolerances of larvae from the two different populations reflect salinities in their native habitats, but are nonetheless suboptimal and that iii) this species is generally highly plastic with regard to salinity.
Project description:The larvae of Drusus improvisus McLachlan, 1884, Drusus camerinus Moretti, 1981 and Drusus aprutiensis Moretti, 1981 are re-described and discussed in the context of contemporary keys of European Drusinae species. In addition, phylogenetic, zoogeographical and ecological notes are included.
Project description:The geographic distributions of some coastal marine species have appeared as cosmopolitan ever since they were first scientifically documented. In particular, for many benthic species that are associated with anthropogenic substrata, there is much speculation as to whether or not their broad distributions can be explained by natural mechanisms of dispersal. Here, we focused on two congeneric coastal crustaceans with cosmopolitan distributions-the tube-dwelling amphipods Jassa marmorata and Jassa slatteryi. Both species are common elements of marine biofouling on nearly all kinds of artificial hard substrata in temperate to warm seas. We hypothesized that the two species' modern occurrences across the oceans are the result of human shipping activities that started centuries ago. Mitochondrial DNA sequences of the CO1 fragment of specimens from distinct marine regions around the world were analysed, evaluating genetic structure and migration models and making inferences on putative native ranges of the two Jassa species. Populations of both species exhibited considerable genetic diversity with differing levels of geographic structure. For both species, at least two dominant haplotypes were shared among several geographic populations. Rapid demographic expansion and high migration rates between geographically distant regions support a scenario of ongoing dispersal all over the world. Our findings indicate that the likely former native range of J. marmorata is the Northwest Atlantic, whereas the likely former native range of J. slatteryi is the Northern Pacific region. As corroborated by the genetic connectivity between populations, shipping still appears to be the more successful vector of the two species' dispersal when compared to natural mechanisms. Historical invasion events that likely started centuries ago, along with current ongoing dispersal, confirm these species' identities as true "neocosmopolitans".
Project description:Many benthic marine invertebrates, like barnacles, have a planktonic larval stage whose primary purpose is dispersal. How these species colonize suitable substrata is fundamental to understanding their evolution, population biology, and wider community dynamics. Unlike larval dispersal, settlement occurs on a relatively small spatial scale and involves larval behavior in response to physical and chemical characteristics of the substratum. Biogenic chemical cues have been implicated in this process. Their identification, however, has proven challenging, no more so than for the chemical basis of barnacle gregariousness, which was first described >50 years ago. We now report that a biological cue to gregarious settlement, the settlement-inducing protein complex (SIPC), of the major fouling barnacle Balanus amphitrite is a previously undescribed glycoprotein. The SIPC shares a 30% sequence homology with the thioester-containing family of proteins that includes the alpha(2)-macroglobulins. The cDNA (5.2 kb) of the SIPC encodes a protein precursor comprising 1,547 aa with a 17-residue signal peptide region. A number of structural characteristics and the absence of a thioester bond in the SIPC suggest that this molecule is a previously undescribed protein that may have evolved by duplication from an ancestral alpha(2)-macroglobulin gene. Although the SIPC is regarded as an adult cue that is recognized by the cyprid at settlement, it is also expressed in the juvenile and in larvae, where it may function in larva-larva settlement interactions.
Project description:Dispersal and adaptation are the two primary mechanisms that set the range distributions for a population or species. As such, understanding how these mechanisms interact in marine organisms in particular - with capacity for long-range dispersal and a poor understanding of what selective environments species are responding to - can provide useful insights for the exploration of biogeographic patterns. Previously, the barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus has revealed two evolutionarily distinct lineages with a joint distribution that suggests an association with one of the two major biogeographic boundaries (~30°S) along the coast of Chile. However, spatial and genomic sampling of this system has been limited until now. We hypothesized that given the strong oceanographic and environmental shifts associated with the other major biogeographic boundary (~42°S) for Chilean coastal invertebrates, the southern mitochondrial lineage would dominate or go to fixation in locations further to the south. We also evaluated nuclear polymorphism data from 130 single nucleotide polymorphisms to evaluate the concordance of the signal from the nuclear genome with that of the mitochondrial sample. Through the application of standard population genetic approaches along with a Lagrangian ocean connectivity model, we describe the codistribution of these lineages through a simultaneous evaluation of coastal lineage frequencies, an approximation of larval behavior, and current-driven dispersal. Our results show that this pattern could not persist without the two lineages having distinct environmental optima. We suggest that a more thorough integration of larval dynamics, explicit dispersal models, and near-shore environmental analysis can explain much of the coastal biogeography of Chile.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Salinity plays an important role in shaping coastal marine communities. Near-future climate predictions indicate that salinity will decrease in many shallow coastal areas due to increased precipitation; however, few studies have addressed this issue. The ability of ecosystems to cope with future changes will depend on species' capacities to acclimatise or adapt to new environmental conditions. Here, we investigated the effects of a strong salinity gradient (the Baltic Sea system--Baltic, Kattegat, Skagerrak) on plasticity and adaptations in the euryhaline barnacle Balanus improvisus. We used a common-garden approach, where multiple batches of newly settled barnacles from each of three different geographical areas along the Skagerrak-Baltic salinity gradient were exposed to corresponding native salinities (6, 15 and 30 PSU), and phenotypic traits including mortality, growth, shell strength, condition index and reproductive maturity were recorded. RESULTS: We found that B. improvisus was highly euryhaline, but had highest growth and reproductive maturity at intermediate salinities. We also found that low salinity had negative effects on other fitness-related traits including initial growth and shell strength, although mortality was also lowest in low salinity. Overall, differences between populations in most measured traits were weak, indicating little local adaptation to salinity. Nonetheless, we observed some population-specific responses--notably that populations from high salinity grew stronger shells in their native salinity compared to the other populations, possibly indicating adaptation to differences in local predation pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that B. improvisus is an example of a true brackish-water species, and that plastic responses are more likely than evolutionary tracking in coping with future changes in coastal salinity.
Project description:Climate change research is advancing to more complex and more comprehensive studies that include long-term experiments, multiple life-history stages, multi-population, and multi-trait approaches. We used a population of the barnacle Balanus improvisus known to be sensitive to short-term acidification to determine its potential for long-term acclimation to acidification. We reared laboratory-bred individuals (as singles or pairs), and field-collected assemblages of barnacles, at pH 8.1 and 7.5 (? 400 and 1600 ?atm pCO2 respectively) for up to 16 months. Acidification caused strong mortality and reduced growth rates. Acidification suppressed respiration rates and induced a higher feeding activity of barnacles after 6 months, but this suppression of respiration rate was absent after 15 months. Laboratory-bred barnacles developed mature gonads only when they were held in pairs, but nonetheless failed to produce fertilized embryos. Field-collected barnacles reared in the laboratory for 8 months at the same pH's developed mature gonads, but only those in pH 8.1 produced viable embryos and larvae. Because survivors of long-term acidification were not capable of reproducing, this demonstrates that B. improvisus can only partially acclimate to long-term acidification. This represents a clear and significant bottleneck in the ontogeny of this barnacle population that may limit its potential to persist in a future ocean.