The tip of the iceberg: Genome wide marker analysis reveals hidden hybridization during invasion

Hanna S. Rosinger, Armando Geraldes, Kristin A. Nurkowski, Paul Battlay, Roger D. Cousens, Loren H. Rieseberg, Kathryn A. Hodgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Biological invasions are accelerating, and invasive species can have large economic impacts as well as severe consequences for biodiversity. During invasions, species can interact, potentially resulting in hybridization. Here, we examined two Cakile species, C. edentula and C. maritima (Brassicaceae), that co-occur and may hybridize during range expansion in separate regions of the globe. Cakile edentula invaded each location first, while C. maritima established later, apparently replacing the former. We assessed the evidence for hybridization in western North America and Australia, where both species have been introduced, and identified source populations with 4561 SNPs using Genotype-by-Sequencing. Our results indicate that C. edentula in Australia originated from one region of eastern North America while in western North America it is probably from multiple sources. Cakile maritima in Australia is derived from at least two different parts of Europe while the introduction in western North America is from one. Although morphological evidence of hybridization is generally limited to mixed species populations in Australia and virtually absent elsewhere, our genetic analysis revealed relatively high levels of hybridization in Australia (58% hybrids using Admixture) and supported the presence of hybrids in western North America (16% hybrids using Admixture) and New Zealand. Hybrids might be commonly overlooked in invaders, as identification based solely on morphological traits may represent only the tip of the iceberg. Our study reveals a repeated pattern of invasion, hybridization and apparent replacement of one species by another, which offers an opportunity to investigate the role of hybridization and introgression during invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-825
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Cakile edentula
  • Cakile maritima
  • genotype-by-sequencing
  • hybridization
  • invasion
  • range expansion

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