Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Human transport has unpredictable genetic and evolutionary consequences for marine species

14.10.2016

New research, led by the University of Southampton, has found that human activities such as shipping are having a noticeable impact on marine species and their native habitats.

The research, published in the journal Biology Letters, says that human forms of transport can disrupt natural genetic patterns that have been shaped over long periods of time. This has unknown consequences for both native and invasive species.


Ciona intestinalis.

Credit: 'Station Biologique Roscoff / Wilfried Thomas'.

Lead author and PhD Student Jamie Hudson said: "Marine species are expected to develop populations whereby geographically close populations are more genetically similar than geographically distant populations. However, anthropogenic (environmental change caused by humans) activities such as shipping promote the artificial transport of species and bring distant populations together, leading to the crossing of individuals and therefore genetic material. The disruption of pre-modern genetic patterns through anthropogenic activities is an unprecedented form of global change that has unpredictable consequences for species and their native distributions."

The researchers investigated the genetics of a native marine invertebrate species (the tunicate Ciona intestinalis) in the English Channel, an area with a high prevalence of shipping. Ciona intestinalis has restricted dispersal capabilities and is most often reported in artificial habitats, such as marinas, so are therefore readily transported by human activities.

They collected specimens between June and December 2014 from 15 different locations on the English and French coasts. They looked at sections of DNA called microsatellites (areas of DNA that contain repeating sequences of two to five base pairs), which can be read and can help determine how similar populations are to each other.

They found a mosaic of genetic patterns that could not be explained by the influence of natural or anthropogenic means alone.

Jamie, who is based in the Ecology and Evolution Lab, added: "We found that C. intestinalis from some locations exhibited a shuffling of genetic material, as expected by human-mediated transport (boats can travel further distances than the larvae). However, unexpectedly some of the populations exhibited the opposite pattern (some populations were not genetically similar), despite there being evidence of artificial transport between these locations - this may be due to natural dispersal or premodern population structure.

Taken together, the authors found dissimilar patterns of population structure in a highly urbanised region that could not be predicted by artificial transport alone. They conclude that anthropogenic activities alter genetic composition of native ranges, with unknown consequences for species' evolutionary trajectories.

The research was conducted by Jamie, under the supervision of Dr Marc Rius from the University of Southampton, and Dr. Frédérique Viard and Charlotte Roby at the Station Biologique de Roscoff, in France. This study was funded by the ANR project HYSEA and the University of Southampton.

Media Contact

Glenn Harris
G.Harris@soton.ac.uk
44-023-805-93212

 @unisouthampton

http://www.southampton.ac.uk/ 

Glenn Harris | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>