MEPS 549:99-112 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11672

Genetic evidence supports recolonisation by Mya arenaria of western Europe from North America

M. E. Cross1,*, C. R. Bradley2, T. F. Cross1, S. Culloty1, S. Lynch1, P. McGinnity1, R. M. O’Riordan1, S. Vartia3, P. A. Prodöhl

1Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland
2Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK
3Carna Research Station, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Carna, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The softshell clam Mya arenaria (L.) is currently widespread on the east and west coasts of North America. This bivalve also occurs on western European shores, where the post-Pleistocene origin of the species, whether introduced or relict, has been debated. We collected 320 M. arenaria from 8 locations in Europe and North America. Clams (n = 84) from 7 of the locations were examined for mitochondrial DNA variation by sequencing a section of the cytochrome oxidase 1 (COX1) gene. These were analysed together with 212 sequences, sourced from GenBank, from the same gene from 12 additional locations, chiefly from eastern North America but also 1 site each from western North America and  from western Europe. Ten microsatellite loci were also investigated in all 320 clams. Nuclear markers showed reduced levels of variation in certain European samples. The same common COX1 haplotypes and microsatellite alleles were present throughout the range of M. arenaria, although significant differences were identified in haplotypic and allelic composition between many samples, particularly those from the 2 continents (Europe and North America). These findings support the hypothesis of post-Pleistocene colonisation of European shores from eastern North America (and the recorded human transfer of clams from the east to the west coast of North America in the 19th century).


KEY WORDS: COX1 · Europe · Microsatellite loci · Mitochondrial DNA · Softshell clam · North America


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Cite this article as: Cross ME, Bradley CR, Cross TF, Culloty S and others (2016) Genetic evidence supports recolonisation by Mya arenaria of western Europe from North America. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 549:99-112. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11672

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