Microsatellite markers were used to investigate the genetic structure among invasive L. decolor populations from Australia and a single international population from Kansas, USA to determine patterns of dispersal. Six variable microsatellites displayed an average of 2.5–4.2 alleles per locus per population. Observed (HO) heterozygosity ranged from 0.12–0.65 per locus within populations; but, in 13 of 36 tests, HO was less than expected. Despite low levels of allelic diversity, genetic structure estimated as θ was significant for all pairwise comparisons between populations (θ=0.05–0.23). Due to suspected null alleles at four loci, ENA (excluding null alleles) corrected FST estimates were calculated overall and for pairwise population comparisons. The ENA-corrected FST values (0.02–0.10) revealed significant overall genetic structure, but none of the pairwise values were significantly different from zero. A Mantel test of isolation by distance indicated no relationship between genetic structure and geographic distance among all populations (r2=0.12, P=0.18) and for Australian populations only (r2=0.19, P=0.44), suggesting that IBD does not describe the pattern of gene flow among populations. This study supports a hypothesis of long distance dispersal by L. decolor at moderate to potentially high levels.
(Accepted September 27 2009)
(Online publication February 02 2010)
p1 Current address: Institute for Conservation Biology and Law, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia