Intestinal Microbiome Richness of Coral Reef Damselfishes (Actinopterygii: Pomacentridae)

Kavazos, Christopher R.J., Ricci, Francesco, Leggat, William, Casey, Jordan, Choat, J. Howard, and Ainsworth, Tracy D. (2022) Intestinal Microbiome Richness of Coral Reef Damselfishes (Actinopterygii: Pomacentridae). Integrative Organismal Biology, 4 (1). obac026.

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Fish gastro-intestinal system harbors diverse microbiomes that affect the host's digestion, nutrition, and immunity. Despite the great taxonomic diversity of fish, little is understood about fish microbiome and the factors that determine its structure and composition. Damselfish are important coral reef species that play pivotal roles in determining algae and coral population structures of reefs. Broadly, damselfish belong to either of two trophic guilds based on whether they are planktivorous or algae-farming. In this study, we used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to investigate the intestinal microbiome of 5 planktivorous and 5 algae-farming damselfish species (Pomacentridae) from the Great Barrier Reef. We detected Gammaproteobacteria ASVs belonging to the genus Actinobacillus in 80% of sampled individuals across the 2 trophic guilds, thus, bacteria in this genus can be considered possible core members of pomacentrid microbiomes. Algae-farming damselfish had greater bacterial alpha-diversity, a more diverse core microbiome and shared 35 ± 22 ASVs, whereas planktivorous species shared 7 ± 3 ASVs. Our data also highlight differences in microbiomes associated with both trophic guilds. For instance, algae-farming damselfish were enriched in Pasteurellaceae, whilst planktivorous damselfish in Vibrionaceae. Finally, we show shifts in bacterial community composition along the intestines. ASVs associated with the classes Bacteroidia, Clostridia, and Mollicutes bacteria were predominant in the anterior intestinal regions while Gammaproteobacteria abundance was higher in the stomach. Our results suggest that the richness of the intestinal bacterial communities of damselfish reflects host species diet and trophic guild.

Item ID: 77665
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2517-4843
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 04:36
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
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