Understanding invasion history and predicting invasive niches using genetic sequencing technology in Australia: Case studies from Cucurbitaceae and Boraginaceae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Part of the challenge in dealing with invasive plant species is that they seldom represent a uniform, static entity. Often, an accurate understanding of the history of plant introduction and knowledge of the real levels of genetic diversity present in species and populations of importance is lacking. Currently, the role of genetic diversity in promoting the successful establishment of invasive plants is not well defined. Genetic profiling of invasive plants should enhance our understanding of the dynamics of colonization in the invaded range. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology have greatly facilitated the rapid and complete assessment of plant population genetics. Here, we apply our current understanding of the genetics and ecophysiology of plant invasions to recent work on Australian plant invaders from the Cucurbitaceae and Boraginaceae. The Cucurbitaceae study showed that both prickly paddy melon (Cucumis myriocarpus) and camel melon (Citrullus lanatus) were represented by only a single genotype in Australia, implying that each was probably introduced as a single introduction event. In contrast, a third invasive melon, Citrullus colocynthis, possessed a moderate level of genetic diversity in Australia and was potentially introduced to the continent at least twice. The Boraginaceae study demonstrated the value of comparing two similar congeneric species; one, Echium plantagineum, is highly invasive and genetically diverse, whereas the other, Echium vulgare, exhibits less genetic diversity and occupies a more limited ecological niche. Sequence analysis provided precise identification of invasive plant species, as well as information on genetic diversity and phylogeographic history. Improved sequencing technologies will continue to allow greater resolution of genetic relationships among invasive plant populations, thereby potentially improving our ability to predict the impact of these relationships upon future spread and better manage invaders possessing potentially diverse biotypes and exhibiting diverse breeding systems, life histories and invasion histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalConservation Physiology
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding invasion history and predicting invasive niches using genetic sequencing technology in Australia: Case studies from Cucurbitaceae and Boraginaceae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this