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Biological invasions are responsible for biodiversity declines, economic losses to society, and expenditures associated with the management of invasions. The total costs of worldwide invasions reached US$1.288 trillion over the past few decades, with an annual cost of US$26.8 billion, exhibiting a threefold ...

Biological invasions are responsible for biodiversity declines, economic losses to society, and expenditures associated with the management of invasions. The total costs of worldwide invasions reached US$1.288 trillion over the past few decades, with an annual cost of US$26.8 billion, exhibiting a threefold increase per decade. Both human-mediated and natural range colonizations undergo similar demographic and selection-driven processes. Therefore, studying the genetic basis of adaptations to new environments enables recognizing factors responsible for successful invasions and may potentially allow the designing of specific programs for preventing invasions.

Invasive species colonizing new environments are subjected to novel selection regimes, and there is mounting evidence that adaptive evolution is a common feature of colonization. Population genomics offers opportunities to disentangle responses to selection from other mechanisms shaping genome diversity. Colonization events enable to link the features of a new environment to adaptations. Adaptive evolutionary shifts in response to novel selection regimes may therefore be central to the initial establishment and spread of a species after colonization.

Population genomic approaches offer an opportunity for identifying mechanisms underlying evolutionary changes during colonization. Understanding the colonization genetics and evolution, both for human-mediated and natural range expansions is central to addressing many open questions in the biology of expanding and invasive species, particularly how evolutionary changes may enhance or impede the success of colonizers. Approaches such as genome-environment association studies, allow to link specific genomic variants to new environment features and provide indirect evidence for adaptation to a new environment. Demographic processes such as admixture or bottlenecks affect genetic variation underlying traits experiencing selection. The impact of these processes on the genetic basis of adaptation remains poorly investigated. Studying whole-genome sequences and different genomic regions or comparing diversity patterns in closely related species with different expansion rates enables disentangling between demographic and selection processes.

The main goal of our Research Topic is to further understand processes shaping adaptive genomic diversity of naturally expanding and invasive populations that will give a scientific background for planning successful approaches for fighting biological invasions. We welcome theoretical manuscripts referring to adaptive processes in expanding populations. The articles applying novel genomic methods may be in form of Reviews, Original Research, and Opinion Articles that are related to the proposed specific topic, but are not limited to:
• Comparisons between colonizing populations and their source populations exploring inferences of loci under differential selection between ranges
• Shifts in allele frequencies between ranges at individual loci, selective sweeps, detecting FST outliers
• Selection scans to identify candidate loci for adaptation during colonization of a new range
• Differentiating between the influence of demographic history and signatures of selection from standing genetic variation in the new habitat
• Genomic x environment interactions
• Linking putative selection targets to species ecology and biology
• Impact of population bottlenecks and population expansions on adaptation to a new environment
• The role of hybridization in adaptation to a new environment
• Interactions of species with new pathogens, or pathogenic species with new hosts

The cover image depicts some of the most problematic invasive species of worldwide or European range: the common raccoon (fot. Wojtek Misiukiewicz), spiny-cheek crayfish and Chinese pond mussel (fot. Rafał Maciaszek), Japanese knotweed (fot. Anna Fijarczyk) and Balfour’s touch-me-not (fot. Kamil Najberek).

Keywords: biological invasions, range expansions, adaptation, selective pressure, evolution, natural selection, new habitat, hybridization, introgression, genomics


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