Long-Term Population Genetic Features of the Rhopilema nomadica Jellyfish from the Israeli Mediterranean Coasts

Jacob Douek, Giovanni Giallongo, Zoya Harbuzov, Bella S. Galil, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rhizostomatid scyphozoan Rhopilema nomadica is one of the most notorious marine invasive species established in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Using seven microsatellite loci, here, we examined the population genetic structures on 587 individual tissue samples collected from 21 sites along the Mediterranean coast of Israel over a period of 16 years. The results indicate unique microsatellite landscapes for all samples, which belong to a single unstructured population. The >20 alleles found in most loci, low fixation index (F) values (average 0.106), and high heterozygosity (average 0.667) suggest random or assortative mating. Additionally, the low overall differentiation (Fst) values (0.043) and pairwise Fst values between the samples collected in different years indicated gene flow and random mating over the years, potentially due to the long-lasting podocytes, scyphistomae, and adults causing a population overlap between the sampled months/years. Likewise, analyses were conducted between seasons, sites, and early/intermediate/late periods of collecting years. These results support the previous analyses performed on the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences, altogether indicating a highly polymorphic single unstructured R. nomadica population in the Levant, possibly backed by independent introductions. The results hint to the existence of highly functional connectivity with a genetically highly diverse source population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Rhopilema nomadica
  • genetic diversity
  • jellyfish
  • microsatellite markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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