CIE Spotlight: Species composition and hybridisation of mussel species in Australia

Craig S.
Craig S.

Title: Species composition and hybridisation of mussel species (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in Australia

Authors: Emi S. Ab Rahim, Thuy T. T. Nguyen, Brett Ingram, Cynthia Riginos, Kim J. Weston and Craig D. H. Sherman

Source: Marine and Freshwater Research (Published online: 5 January 2016)

Brief summary of the paper: Mussels belonging to the Mytilus edulis species complex have been the focus of numerous studies exploring the systematics and origin of this commercially and ecologically important genus. Species have wide geographical ranges and hybridise where their distributions overlap, making identification difficult.

Several molecular markers have been used to distinguish between the species within the M. edulis species complex; however, no single marker system has been found to be completely diagnostic, and a combination of markers are used.

Here, we used a combination of three nuclear genes and a mitochondrial gene region to assess the species composition of Mytilus mussels collected across its geographical range in Australia.

Our results show that the majority (98.5%) of individuals sampled from Australian populations are Mytilus galloprovincialis, with 56.2% of them displaying a southern hemisphere haplotype, 10.3% displaying a putatively northern hemisphere haplotype, and 32% having M. galloprovincialis genotypes consistent with either northern or southern hemisphere M. galloprovincialis lineages. The taxonomic origin of the remaining 1.5% of samples (n = 3) could not be conclusively determined.

Our results suggest that there have been significant introductions of non-native M. galloprovincialislineages into both southern and northern hemisphere populations.