Chimera formation could favor the expansion of invasive species in the marine environment | 6/10/2015 | Staff
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A new article published in the journal Scientific Reports reveals 44% of the colonies of Didemnum vexillum—a marine invertebrate tagged as invasive species—in the Ebro Delta (Tarragona, Spain) are formed by gene chimera: that is, cells with a different gene pool. According to the study, this ability to create chimera could be a determining factor in promoting genetic diversity and the colonizing success of this exotic species in natural ecosystems worldwide.

The experts Marta Pascual, from the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio), Xavier Turon, from CSIC in the Blanes Centre for Advanced Studies (CEAB), Maria Casso (UB-IRBio-CEAB-CSIC) and Davide Tagliapietra, from the Institute of Marine Sciences (Italy), took part in the new research.

Ascidians - Group - Invertebrates - Sub-phylum - Tunicates

Ascidians are a marine group of invertebrates from the sub-phylum of tunicates with a great ability to colonize marine habitats (ocean floors, harbours, fleets, aquaculture facilities, etc.) and unleash episodes of biological invasions with a high economic and ecological cost. In marine ecosystems—especially vulnerable to the problem of biological invasions—human activity related to intense marine traffic have facilitated the spread of invasive organisms in several areas of the planet.

The colonial ascidian Didemnum vexillum is an exotic species from the northern-western Pacific which successfully spreads in mild waters worldwide. A major competitor for natural resources, this dominant-profile species has high reproductive capacity, it forces native species to move, and spreads easily through ships and aquaculture activities.

Time - Mediterranean - Lagoon - Italy - Species

Identified for the first time in the Mediterranean in 2012, in the Venetian Lagoon (Italy), this exotic species was also detected in aquaculture facilities in the Ebro Delta in Tarragona. Today, it is widely distributed around the Mediterranean basin, and this is why it is essential to know about its biology and ecology to limit its colonizing power and prevent new expansion episodes from occurring in...
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