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Explaining the worldwide distributions of two highly mobile species: Cakile edentula and C. maritima

Cite this dataset

Cousens, Roger et al. (2021). Explaining the worldwide distributions of two highly mobile species: Cakile edentula and C. maritima [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim: If we are able to determine the geographic origin of an invasion, as well as its known area of introduction, we can better appreciate the innate environmental tolerance of a species and the strength of selection for adaptation that colonising populations have undergone. It also enables us to maximise the success of searches for effective biological control agents. We determined the number of successful colonisation events that have occurred throughout the world for two Cakile species and compared the climates from which they originated, in which they established and then spread.

Location: Worldwide

Taxon: Sea-Rockets (Cakile spp.), Brassicaceae

Methods: We used a high throughput sequencing and a genome skimming approach combined with Bayesian Inference phylogenetics to examine variation in entire chloroplast genomes and regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA within native and introduced areas. Databases were used to compare climates between native ranges and introduced regions for multiple clades within each species.

Results: At least seven clades have invaded different regions of the world. In most cases we were able to identify their source regions and climates. The environmental bottlenecks differed in intensity: while some clades colonized into climates that were similar to climates in their native range, other clades had a very broad innate environmental tolerance such that new invasions succeeded beyond the climate range of native populations. We found clear evidence of hybridisation – specifically chloroplast capture - between two species in Australia.

Conclusions: Results here show that these species are sometimes capable of colonizing in climates that are beyond the climate range of native populations. Whether successful colonization beyond native climate niches requires de novo adaptation, or whether it represents an innate broad fundamental niche requires further investigation. Cakile species provide an excellent opportunity to study replicated climate adaptation trajectories.


The data set comprises collected occurrence data from different sources included in the SI Table 1 and GBIF data for the native range of the two species. The first records of introduction into a region were taken from the earliest sample in GBIF or from published reports. 

27,343 and 2,081 native range records were extracted from GBIF for C. maritima and C. edentula, respectively. 

Usage notes

Subsetting the data allows you to obtain occurrences of species and clades in their respective ranges. Empty fields present missing values.


Australian Research Council, Award: DP140100608