Microbiome diversity and composition varies across body areas in a freshwater turtle

McKnight, Donald T., Zenger, Kyall R., Alford, Ross A., and Huerlimann, Roger (2020) Microbiome diversity and composition varies across body areas in a freshwater turtle. Microbiology, 166 (5). pp. 440-452.

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There is increasing recognition that microbiomes are important for host health and ecology, and understanding host microbiomes is important for planning appropriate conservation strategies. However, microbiome data are lacking for many taxa, including turtles. To further our understanding of the interactions between aquatic microbiomes and their hosts, we used next generation sequencing technology to examine the microbiomes of the Krefft's river turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii). We examined the microbiomes of the buccal (oral) cavity, skin on the head, parts of the shell with macroalgae and parts of the shell without macroalgae. Bacteria in the phyla Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were the most common in most samples (particularly buccal samples), but Cyanobacteria, Deinococcus-thermus and Chloroflexi were also common (particularly in external microbiomes). We found significant differences in community composition among each body area, as well as significant differences among individuals. The buccal cavity had lower bacterial richness and evenness than any of the external microbiomes, and it had many amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) with a low relative abundance compared to other body areas. Nevertheless, the buccal cavity also had the most unique ASVs. Parts of the shell with and without algae also had different microbiomes, with particularly obvious differences in the relative abundances of the families Methylomonaceae, Saprospiraceae and Nostocaceae. This study provides novel, baseline information about the external microbiomes of turtles and is a first step in understanding their ecological roles.

Item ID: 63579
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1465-2080
Keywords: Aquatic microbiology, Bacteria, Chelonians, Reptiles
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors
Funders: Australian Wildlife Society (AWS), Australian Society of Herpetologists, Skyrail Rainforest Foundation (SRF), Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (HWRE)
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 07:44
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 20%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310914 Vertebrate biology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180303 Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity @ 100%
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