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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 84:59-74 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01926

Spatial variation of bacterial and fungal communities of estuarine seagrass leaf microbiomes

Stacey M. Trevathan-Tackett1,*, Theo R. Allnutt2, Craig D. H. Sherman1, Mark F. Richardson1,3, Tamsyn M. Crowley4, Peter I. Macreadie1

1Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood and Waurn Ponds Campuses, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
2Theo Allnutt Bioinformatics, Wilsons Road, Geelong, VIC 3219, Australia
3Deakin Genomics Centre, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood and Waurn Ponds Campuses, Geelong, VIC 3125, Australia
4Bioinformatics Core Research Group, School of Medicine, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus, Geelong, VIC 3216, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The health of seagrass plants, and thereby the ecosystems they form, is linked to their associated microbial communities. However, the role of the microbiome in holobiont function and health remains poorly understood for most seagrass species and environmental pressures, and there is, therefore, a need to better understand the drivers behind the formation of and external influences on the seagrass microbiome. Using a core microbiome framework, we characterised the leaf microbiomes of 6 estuarine seagrass populations after a precipitation event to explore how the microbiomes vary across different sites and salinities over a regional spatial scale. We found that each estuary had distinct core bacterial community structures (beta-diversity), but shared a more similar fungal core community structure. We hypothesise that the differences in the bacterial members of the microbiomes among estuaries are generally the result of each estuary being influenced by unique watersheds and sources of prokaryotes. In contrast, the similarity in the core fungal communities suggests that the eukaryotic components of the microbiomes are likely under selection or result from similar colonisation pathway(s). We also found that the bacterial taxa driving the differences among estuaries were linked to the salinity of the estuary, likely due to (1) the general epibiotic nature of colonisation (i.e. watershed source and exposure) and (2) members or functional groups within the leaf microbiome assisting seagrasses in coping with the extreme salinities. These results are valuable for linking microbiomes to the resilience of seagrasses living within dynamic estuaries experiencing a range of physicochemical pressures.


KEY WORDS: Holobiont · Salinity · Zostera · Mycobiome · Estuary · Flood · Intermittently closed-open lakes and lagoons


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Cite this article as: Trevathan-Tackett SM, Allnutt TR, Sherman CDH, Richardson ME, Crowley TM, Macreadie PI (2020) Spatial variation of bacterial and fungal communities of estuarine seagrass leaf microbiomes. Aquat Microb Ecol 84:59-74. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01926

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