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FEMS Microbiol Ecol August 1, 2019; 95 (8):

Geographic location and food availability offer differing levels of influence on the bacterial communities associated with larval sea urchins.

Carrier TJ , Dupont S , Reitzel AM .

Determining the factors underlying the assembly, structure, and diversity of symbiont communities remains a focal point of animal-microbiome research. Much of these efforts focus on taxonomic variation of microbiota within or between animal populations, but rarely test the proportional impacts of ecological components that may affect animal-associated microbiota. Using larvae from the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, we test the hypothesis that, under natural conditions, inter-population differences in the composition of larval-associated bacterial communities are larger than intra-population variation due to a heterogeneous feeding environment. Despite significant differences in bacterial community structure within each S. droebachiensis larval population based on food availability, development, phenotype, and time, variation in OTU membership and community composition correlated more strongly with geographic location. Moreover, 20-30% of OTUs associated with larvae were specific to a single location while less than 10% were shared. Taken together, these results suggest that inter-populational variation in symbiont communities may be more pronounced than intra-populational variation, and that this difference may suggest that broad-scale ecological variables (e.g., across ocean basins) may mask smaller scale ecological variables (e.g., food availability).

PubMed ID: 31260050
Article link: FEMS Microbiol Ecol

Genes referenced: LOC105439193