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PLoS One. 2018 Aug 29;13(8):e0202212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202212. eCollection 2018.

Microbiome composition within a sympatric species complex of intertidal isopods (Jaera albifrons).

Author information

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The increasingly recognised effects of microbiomes on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of their hosts are promoting a view of the "hologenome" as an integral host-symbiont evolutionary entity. For example, sex-ratio distorting reproductive parasites such as Wolbachia are well-studied pivotal drivers of invertebrate reproductive processes, and more recent work is highlighting novel effects of microbiome assemblages on host mating behaviour and developmental incompatibilities that underpin or reinforce reproductive isolation processes. However, examining the hologenome and its eco-evolutionary effects in natural populations is challenging because microbiome composition is considerably influenced by environmental factors. Here we illustrate these challenges in a sympatric species complex of intertidal isopods (Jaera albifrons spp.) with pervasive sex-ratio distortion and ecological and behavioural reproductive isolation mechanisms. We deep-sequence the bacterial 16S rRNA gene among males and females collected in spring and summer from two coasts in north-east Scotland, and examine microbiome composition with a particular focus on reproductive parasites. Microbiomes of all species were diverse (overall 3,317 unique sequences among 3.8 million reads) and comprised mainly Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes taxa typical of the marine intertidal zone, in particular Vibrio spp. However, we found little evidence of the reproductive parasites Wolbachia, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma and Cardinium, suggesting alternative causes of sex-ratio distortion. Notwithstanding, a significant proportion of the variance in microbiome composition among samples was explained by sex (14.1 %), nested within geographic (26.9 %) and seasonal (39.6 %) variance components. The functional relevance of this sex signal was difficult to ascertain given the absence of reproductive parasites, the ephemeral nature of the species assemblages and substantial environmental variability. These results establish the Jaera albifrons species complex as an intriguing system for examining the effects of microbiomes on reproductive processes and speciation, and highlight the difficulties associated with snapshot assays of microbiome composition in dynamic and complex environments.

PMID:
30157257
PMCID:
PMC6114722
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0202212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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