More than One Way to Invade: Lessons from Genetic Studies of Carcinus Shore Crabs

  • John A. DarlingEmail author
Part of the Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology book series (INNA, volume 6)


The European green crab Carcinus maenas is one of the world’s most widely recognized marine invaders. The success of this species has provided opportunities to explore genetic patterns associated with establishment and population expansion following independent introduction events to widely different recipient ecosystems. Recent studies have revealed an extraordinary diversity of such patterns. Globally, genetic reconstruction of invasion histories suggests complicated scenarios comprising multiple introductions to some regions as well as secondary introductions deriving from previously established invasive populations. In addition, detailed genetic analyses of several introduced populations indicate that successful invasion may involve rapid expansion from single low diversity founder populations, multiple introductions from genetically distinct sources with subsequent intraspecific admixture, or even interspecific hybridization between C. maenas and its sibling species C. aestuarii. The complexity of this global picture highlights the contingent nature of individual biological invasion events. Nevertheless, genetic study of non-native Carcinus populations provides crucial insights into invasion dynamics relevant to green crab management and control, and offers an unusually rich system within which to explore the genetic consequences of colonizations and range expansions in coastal marine ecosystems.


Ballast Water Invasive Population Larval Dispersal Green Crab Multiple Introduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Exposure Research LaboratoryUS EPACincinnatiUSA

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