Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Specific amplification of mt-COI gene of the invasive gastropod Maoricolpus roseus in planktonic samples reveals a free-living larval life-history stage

Rasanthi M. Gunasekera A , Jawahar G. Patil A B , Felicity R. McEnnulty A and Nicholas J. Bax A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538 Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: jawahar.patil@csiro.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 56(6) 901-912 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF05045
Submitted: 11 March 2005  Accepted: 26 May 2005   Published: 27 September 2005

Abstract

The New Zealand screwshell Maoricolpus roseus was unintentionally introduced to south-eastern Tasmania in the 1920s. It has colonised more habitat than any other high-impact benthic marine pest in Australia and its wide temperature and depth tolerance makes further spread likely. We developed three sets of genetic probes, each targeting a unique region in the mitochondrial COI locus, for the rapid detection of this species in mixed plankton samples. In particular, we wanted to know whether this species has a planktonic life-history stage that could lead to its dispersal in ships’ ballast water. All probe sets were tested against as many closely related species as could be obtained and the reaction conditions were optimised for maximum sensitivity and specificity of M. roseus. Plankton samples collected in the Derwent Estuary between August 2003 and June 2004 were tested with the probes using a nested polymerase chain reaction. Maoricolpus roseus was detected in the plankton samples especially in the spring–summer period. The presence of M. roseus in the plankton and water available for ships’ ballast indicates that the risk of this species being spread by shipping needs to be managed.

Extra keywords: ballast water management, DNA, gene probe, invasive species, marine pest, screwshell, species identification.


Acknowledgments

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the following for providing us with samples: Karen Gowlett-Holmes and Alan Williams (CSIRO Marine Research), Anthony Reid (University of Tasmania), Liz Turner (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), Richard Willan (Museum & Art Gallery of the NT) and Margaret Morley and Todd Landers (Auckland Museum). Commercial fishers Hilary Reynard, Robin Sward and Greg Richie provided information on the presence of M. roseus in scallop dredges. Alison Dann provided technical assistance. This work was funded by CSIRO Marine Research and the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia, an Australian Government initiative. The results of the work were previously reported in Development of genetic probes for rapid assessment of the impacts of marine invasive species on native biodiversity—Maoricolpus roseus. That report is an independent review prepared for the Department of the Environment and Heritage by CSIRO Marine Research. The views and opinions expressed in that publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Commonwealth Government or the Minister for the Environment and Heritage.


The Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this article, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this article.


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