Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1125–1141 | Cite as

Multiple introductions and no loss of genetic diversity: invasion history of Japanese Rose, Rosa rugosa, in Europe

  • Andreas Kelager
  • Jes Søe Pedersen
  • Hans Henrik Bruun
Original Paper


The shrub Rosa rugosa (Japanese Rose), native to East Asia, is considered one of the most troublesome invasive plant species in natural or semi-natural habitats of northern Europe and has proven very difficult to control. We aimed at disentangling the species’ invasion history in Europe, including determining the number of introductions and their geographic origin, and at investigating whether populations in the introduced and native ranges differ in genetic diversity, structure and degree of differentiation. We found that introduced (n = 16) and native (n = 16) populations had similar levels of genetic diversity at seven nuclear SSR (microsatellite) loci. European populations lack isolation by distance and are less genetically differentiated than are populations in East Asia. Multiple and at least three independent colonization events, one of which was particularly successful, gave rise to current R. rugosa populations in Europe. The geographic distribution patterns of these three genetic clusters could not be explained by natural dispersal alone, indicating that human mediated secondary dispersal is driving the expansion in Europe. One cluster representing three of the European populations was most likely derived from NW Japan, whereas the origin of the remaining thirteen populations could not clearly be resolved. The introduction and expansion in Europe occurred with no significant loss of genetic diversity. We conclude that high propagule pressure at the primary establishment phase is the most parsimonious explanation for this pattern. A potential for long distance seed dispersal, coastal habitat connectivity and an outcrossing breeding system are factors likely to have enabled populations of R. rugosa to avoid detrimental effects of genetic bottlenecks and will further increase the species’ range size and abundance in Europe. We recommend that human-mediated dispersal should be prevented in order to halt the continued expansion.


Assignment analysis Genetic diversity Invasion history Microsatellite Phylogeography Population genetics 



We cordially thank Jean-Philippe Bizoux, Dirk-Jan ten Brink, Ulla Carlsson-Granér, Maarten Christenhusz, Charles Coyle, Tinne Gaardmann, Barbara Giles, Marcin Górniak, Jin-Seok Kim, Hajime Matsushima, Teruyoshi Nagamitsu, Liv S. Nilsen, Triin and Mari Reitalu, Olav Skarpaas, Sonia Vanderhoeven, Valentina Vetrova, Volker Wissemann and Valentin V. Yakubov for providing leaf material or DNA samples. Sylvia Mathiasen and Ruth Jacobsen are thanked for their assistance in the laboratory and Bjørn Hermansen for GIS support. Katharine Marske, Jaco Le Roux and two anonymous reviewers gave valuable comments on a previous version of this manuscript. This study was supported by FORMAS (the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) and the Danish National Research Foundation. All authors thank the Danish National Research Foundation for support to the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate and to the Centre for Social Evolution.

Supplementary material

10530_2012_356_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (122 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 123 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Kelager
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jes Søe Pedersen
    • 2
  • Hans Henrik Bruun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Center for Macroecology, Evolution and ClimateUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Centre for Social EvolutionUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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