Spatiotemporal Population Genomics of Marine Species: Invasion, Expansion, and Connectivity

Eleanor Bors, Ph.D., 2017
Timothy Shank, Advisor

Every genome tells a story. This dissertation contains four such stories, focused on shared themes of marine population dynamics and rapid change, with an emphasis on invasive marine species. Biological invasions are often characterized by a range expansion, during which strong genetic drift is hypothesized to result in decreased genetic diversity with increased distance from the center of the historic range, or the point of invasion. In this dissertation, population genetic and genomic tools are used to approach complex and previously intractable fundamental questions pertaining to the non-equilibrium dynamics of species invasions and rapid range expansions in two invasive marine species: the lionfish, Pterois volitans;and the shrimp, Palaemon macrodactylus. Using thousands of loci sequenced with restriction enzyme associated DNA sequencing in these two systems, this research tests theoretical predictions of the genomic signatures of range expansions. The first chapter elucidates patterns of population genetic connectivity for deep-sea invertebrates in the New Zealand region demonstrating intimate relationships between genetics, oceanographic currents, and life history traits. Invasive shrimp results extend our understanding of marine population connectivity to suggest that human-mediated dispersal is important to determining genetic connectivity during specific phases of marine invasions. In invasive populations of lionfish, measures of genomic diversity, including a difference between observed and expected heterozygosity, were found to correlate with distance from the point of introduction, even in the absence of spatial metapopulation genetic structure. The final study in this dissertation uses an innovative temporal approach to explore observed genomic patterns in the lionfish.