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

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:

Marine and Freshwater Research 56(6) 901-912
Submitted: 11 March 2005  Accepted: 26 May 2005   Published: 27 September 2005


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.


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.


Allmon, W. D. , Jones, D. , Aiello, R. L. , Gowlett-Holmes, K. , and Probert, P. K. (1994). Observations on the biology of Maoricolpus roseus (Quoy and Gaimard) (Prosobranchia: Turritellidae) from New Zealand and Tasmania. The Veliger 37, 267–279.

Bax, N. J. , and Williams, A. (2001). Seabed habitat on the southeast Australian continental shelf—context vulnerability and monitoring. Marine and Freshwater Research 52, 491–512.
CrossRef |

Bax N. J., McEnnulty F., and Gowlett-Holmes F. R. (2003). Distribution and biology of the introduced gastropod Maoricolpus roseus (Quoy and Gaimard 1834) (Prosobarnchia: Turritellidae) in Australia. Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests. Technical Report No. 25. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Bottema, C. D. K. , Sarkar, G. , Cassady, J. D. , Li, S. , Dutton, C. M. , and Sommer, S. S. (1993). Polymerase chain reaction amplification of specific alleles: a general method of detection of mutations, polymorphisms, and haplotypes. Methods in Enzymology 218, 388–402.
PubMed |

Carlton J. T. (1999). The scale and ecological consequences of biological invasions in the world’s oceans. In ‘Invasive Species and Biodiversity Management’. (Eds O. T. Sandlund, P. J. Schei and Å. Viken.) pp. 195–212. (Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.)

Caton A., and McLoughlin K. (2000). Fishery Status Reports 1999. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Australia. Canberra.

Dartnall, A. J. (1967). New Zealand marine animals from Channel waters. Tasmanian Fisheries Research 1(3), 4–5.

Deagle, B. E. , Bax, N. , Hewitt, C. L. , and Patil, J. G. (2003). Development and evaluation of a PCR based test for detection of Asterias (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) larvae in mixed plankton samples from ballast water. Marine and Freshwater Research 54, 709–719.
CrossRef |

Doyle, J. J. , and Doyle, J. L. (1987). A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochemistry Bulletin 19, 11–15.

Folmer, O. , Black, M. , Hoeh, W. , Lutz, R. , and Vrijenhoek, R. (1994). DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates. Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology 3, 294–299.
PubMed |

Gaines, S. D. , Gaylor, B. , and Largier, J. L. (2003). Avoiding current oversights in marine reserve design. Ecological Applications 13(1 Supplement), S32–S46.

Garrard, T. A. (1972). A revision of Australian recent and tertiary Turritellidae (Gastropoda: Mollusca). Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 2, 267–337.

Grantham, B. A. , Eckert, G. L. , and Shanks, A. L. (2003). Dispersal potential of marine invertebrates in diverse habitats. Ecological Applications 13(1 Supplement), S108–S116.

Greenhill, J. F. (1965). New records of marine mollusca from Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 99, 67–69.

Hare, M. P. , Palumbi, S. R. , and Butman, C. A. (2000). Single-step species identification of bivalve larvae using multiplex polymerase chain reaction. Marine Biology 137, 953–961.
CrossRef |

Hayes K. R., Sutton C., Gunasekera R., Sliwa C., Migus S., McEnnulty F., Dunstan P., Green M., and Patil J. (2004a). Empirical validation: small vessel translocation of key threatening species stage I—Asterias amurensis. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Hayes K., Sliwa C., Migus S., McEnnulty F., and Dunstan P. (2004b). National priority pests: Part II Ranking of Australian marine pests. An independent report undertaken for the Department of Environment and Heritage by CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Hewitt C. L., Gibbs P., Campbell M. L., Moore K. M., and Murfet N. B. (1997). Introduced species survey of Eden and Twofold Bay, New South Wales. A report for the New South Wales Office of Marine Affairs, CRIMP Port Survey Report Series, CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart.

Hewitt, C. L. , Campbell, M. L. , Thresher, R. E. , Martin, R. B. , and Boyd, S. , et al. (2004). Introduced and cryptogenic species in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Marine Biology 144, 183–202.
CrossRef |

IGA (2004). Draft intergovernmental agreement on a National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions, between the Australian Government; States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania; and the Northern Territory of Australia. Agreed to by the Australian Transport Council (19 November 2004) and the Natural Resources Management Ministerial Council (3 December 2004).

Jordan, A. , Lawler, M. , Halley, V. , and Barrett, N. (2005). Seabed habitat mapping in the Kent group of islands and its role in marine protected area planning. Aquatic Conservation. Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 15, 51–70.
CrossRef |

Morton J., and Miller M. (1968). ‘The New Zealand Sea Shore.’ (Collins: Auckland.)

Newton, C. R. , Graham, A. , Heptinstall, L. E. , Powell, S. J. , Summers, C. , Kalsheker, N. , Smith, J. C. , and Markham, A. F. (1989). Analysis of any point mutation in DNA. The amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS). Nucleic Acids Research 17, 2503–2516.
PubMed |

Patil J. G., Hayes K. R., Gunasekera R. M., Deagle B. E., McEnnulty F., Bax N., and Hewitt C. L. (2004). Port of Hastings National Demonstration Project—Verification of the Type II error rate of the Ballast Water Decision Support System (DSS). Final report prepared for the Environmental Protection Authority. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Patil, J. G. , Gunasekera, R. M. , Deagle, B. E. , Bax, N. J. , and Blackburn, S. I. (2005a). Development and evaluation of a PCR based assay for detection of the toxic dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium catenatum in ballast water and environmental samples. Biological Invasions 7, 983–994.

Patil, J. G. , Gunasekera, R. M. , Deagle, B. E. , and Bax, N. J. (2005b). Specific detection of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) larvae in plankton samples using nested polymerase chain reaction. Marine Biotechnology 7, 11–20.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Pilkington, M. C. (1974). The eggs and hatching stages of some New Zealand prosobranch molluscs. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 4, 411–432.

Powell, A. W. B. (1931). Descriptions of some new species of recent mollusca. Records of the Canterbury Museum 3, 371–376.

Powell A. W. B. (1979). ‘New Zealand Mollusca: Marine, Land and Freshwater Shells.’ (Collins: Auckland.)

Rainer, S. F. (1981). Soft-bottom benthic communities in Otago Harbour and Blueskin Bay, New Zealand. New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Memoir 80, 1–18.

Rocha-Olivares, A. (1998). Multiplex haplotype-specific PCR: a new approach for species identification of the early life stages of rockfishes of the species-rich genus Sebastes Cuvier. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 231, 279–290.
CrossRef |

Rychlik W. (1996). ‘OLIGO, Version 5.0 for Macintosh.’ (National Biosciences, Plymouth, MN.)

Scott R. (1997). Aspects of the biology of the introduced gastropod Maoricolpus roseus. BSc Honours thesis, Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Thompson, J. D. , Gibson, T. J. , Plewniak, F. , Jeanmougin, F. , and Higgins, D. G. (1997). The CLUSTAL_X windows interface: flexible strategies for multiple sequence alignment aided by quality analysis tools. Nucleic Acids Research 25, 4876–4882.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Turner, E. (1992). A northern Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis, in Tasmania. AMSA Bulletin 120, 18–19.

Williams A. (2004). RV Southern Surveyor Voyage Summary SS04/2004. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Wuyts, J. , De Rijk, P. , Van de Peer, Y. , Winkelmans, T. , and De Wachter, R. (2001). The European Large Subunit Ribosomal RNA database. Nucleic Acids Research 29, 175–177.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (10)

View Altmetrics