Investigating the Microbiome of the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) along a Latitudinal Gradient.

Dupah Gobin

Abstract


Oysters are ecosystem engineers that provide a habitat for native species and are important nitrogen transformers in estuaries. Oysters also perform ecosystem services such as water filtration, nitrogen sequestration and lead to the improvement of water quality. Past studies have shown that gut microbiomes in oysters have high denitrification action thus producing N2O and N2 as end product. Surprisingly, little information is currently known about the gut microbiome diversity of oysters or how the gut microbiota varies across spatial scales. The purpose of this study is to use next-generation sequencing and metagenomic analyses of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the gut microbiota of oysters living along a latitudinal gradient along the Atlantic Coast of the United States in order to determine whether these communities shift in a predictable way with changes in water temperature. 16S data were used to determine community composition, alpha and beta diversity, and major clades of bacteria found in the oyster gut. Selected oysters from several locations, (Cape May, Blue Point and Gerrish Island) were obtained and their guts were dissected out. Microbial DNA was extracted from oyster guts using the PowerSoil DNA Isolation kit. Collected oysters from different geographically distinct sites, shows similar bacteria within the gut microbiomes. The phyla Spirochaetes, and Tenericutes, were the most overrepresented in the oyster gut. Variations and differences between different sites within the gut microbiomes suggest that microbiome composition might respond to local factors, and perhaps to genetic differences among oysters

Keywords


16S rRNA gene, Spirochaetes, Tenericutes.

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