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The Presence of Cable Bacteria and Microbiome Analyses in the Burrow Sediment of Upogebia pugettensis

Cheng Li*, Clare E. Reimers, John W. Chapman

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We utilized methods of sediment cultivation, catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization, scanning electron microscopy, and 16s rRNA gene sequencing to investigate the presence of novel filamentous cable bacteria (CB) in estuarine sediments bioturbated by the mud shrimp Upogebia pugettensis Dana and also to test for trophic connections between the shrimp, a commensal bivalve, Neaeromya rugifera, and the sediment. Agglutinated sediments from the linings of shrimp burrows exhibited higher abundances of CB compared to surrounding suboxic and anoxic sediments. Furthermore, CB abundance and activity increased in these sediments when they were incubated under oxygenated seawater. Through core microbiome analysis, we found that the microbiomes of the shrimp and bivalve shared 181 taxa with the sediment bacterial community, and that these shared taxa represented 17.9% of all reads. Therefore, bacterial biomass in the burrow sediment lining is likely a major food source for both the shrimp and bivalve. Furthermore, the biogeochemical conditions created by shrimp burrows and other irrigators may help promote the growth of CB and select for other dominant members of the bacterial community, particularly a variety of members from amongst the Proteobacteria. Thus, these associations give new understanding to the ecology of a burrowing crustacean with populations common, but in decline, throughout intertidal mudflats of Northeastern Pacific estuaries.