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Four times out of Europe: serial invasions of the winter moth, Operophtera brumata, to North America
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  • Jeremy Andersen,
  • Nathan Havill,
  • Adalgisa Caccone,
  • Joseph Elkinton
Jeremy Andersen
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nathan Havill
USDA Forest Service
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Adalgisa Caccone
Yale University
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Joseph Elkinton
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Reconstructing the geographic origins of invasive species is critical for establishing effective management strategies. Frequently, molecular investigations are undertaken when the source population is not known, however; these analyses are constrained both by the amount of diversity present in the native region and by changes in the genetic background of the invading population following bottlenecks and/or hybridization events. Here we explore the geographical origins of the invasive winter moth (Operopthera brumata L.) that has caused widespread defoliation to forests, orchards, and crops in four discrete regions: Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Oregon, and the northeastern United States. It is not known whether these represent independent introductions to North America, or “stepping stone” spread among regions. Using a combination of Bayesian assignment and approximate Bayesian computation methods, we analyzed a population genetic dataset of 24 polymorphic microsatellite loci. We estimate that winter moth was introduced to North America on at least four occasions, with the Nova Scotian and British Columbian populations likely being introduced from France and Sweden, respectively; the Oregonian population likely being introduced from either the British Isles or northern Fennoscandia; and the population in the northeastern United States likely being introduced from somewhere in Central Europe. To our surprise, we found that hybridization has not played a large role in the establishment of winter moth populations even though previous reports have documented widespread hybridization between winter moth and a native congener. We discuss the impact of genetic bottlenecks on analyses meant to determine region of origin.
21 Dec 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology
22 Dec 2020Submission Checks Completed
22 Dec 2020Assigned to Editor
09 Jan 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
25 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
07 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 May 20211st Revision Received
10 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept