Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research project

MtDNA Barcoding Invasive Species

What is the provenance of introduced populations?

Ben Wielstra

RAVON (Reptile, Amphibian & Fish Conservation Netherlands), Nijmegen, the Netherlands 
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, the Netherlands

In a collaboration with the NGO RAVON (Reptile, Amphibian & Fish Conservation Netherlands), Ben Wielstra genetically screens for invasive species. As a consequence of increasing globalization, species can reach places that were previously inaccessible. Invasive species are considered to be one of the main threats to global biodiversity. It is not always obvious if a species is invasive or native. Species can be morphologically cryptic, meaning that invasive species may resemble threatened native ones. Also, historical data on species distribution are lacking, meaning it is unknown if species are native or invasive. It is crucial to get clarity on these matters before proper conservation action can be taken. MtDNA barcoding is a quick and cheap tool that can provide much needed insight.


  • Robbemont, J., van Veldhuijzen, S., Allain, S.J.R., Ambu, J., Boyle, R., Canestrelli, D., Ó Cathasaigh, É., Cathrine, C., Chiocchio, A., Cogalniceanu, D., Cvijanović, M., Dufresnes, C., Ennis, C., Gandola, R., Jablonski, D., Julian, A., Kranželić, D., Lukanov, S., Martínez-Solano, I., Montgomery, R., Naumov, B., O’Neill, M., North, A., Pabijan, M., Pushendorf, R., Salvi, D., Schmidt, B., Sotiropoulos, K., Stanescu, F., Stanković, D., Stapelton, S., Šunje, E., Szabolcs, M., Vacheva, E., Willis, D., Zimić, A., France, J., Meilink, W.R.M., Stark, T., Struijk, R.P.J.H., Theodoropoulos, A., de Visser, M.C., Wielstra, B. (2023). An extended mtDNA phylogeography for the alpine newt illuminates the provenance of introduced populations. Amphibia-Reptilia in press
  • Kuijt, M., Oskam, L., den Boer, I., Dufresnes, C., France, J., Gilbert, M.J., de Visser, M.C., Struijk, R.P.J.H., Wielstra, B. (2023). The introduction of three cryptic tree frog species in the Dutch coastal dunes challenges conservation paradigms. Amphibia- Reptilia 44(1): 1-10.
  • Koster, S., Prins, N., Dufresnes, C., France, J., de Visser, M.C., Struijk, R.P.J.H., Wielstra, B. (2023). The conservation paradox of an introduced population of a threatened species: spadefoot toads in the coastal dunes of the Netherlands. Amphibia- Reptilia 44(1): 11-18.
This website uses cookies.  More information.