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AME prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01981

The feeding ecology and microbiome of the pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica

Patricia S. Thibodeau*, Bongkeun Song, Carly M. Moreno, Deborah K. Steinberg

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The pteropod (pelagic snail) Limacina helicina antarctica is a dominant grazer along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) and plays an important role in regional food web dynamics and biogeochemical cycling. For the first time, we examined the gut microbiome and feeding ecology of L. h. antarctica based on 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequences of gut contents in the WAP during austral summer. Eukaryotic gut contents of L. h. antarctica indicate that they predominantly feed on diatoms and dinoflagellates, supplementing their diet with ciliates and foraminifera. Mollicutes bacteria were a consistent component of the gut microbiome. Determining the gut microbiome and feeding ecology of L. h. antarctica aids in identifying the underlying mechanisms controlling pteropod abundance and distribution in a region of rapid environmental change.