Honors College Thesis


Are they what they eat? A stable GIT microbiome characterized in P. resecata Public Deposited

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  • Intertidal herbivores, such as isopods, help regulate and contribute to nutrient cycling and organic carbon flow through the trophic levels in estuaries and coastal ecosystems. Though much is known about the microbiomes of macrophyte leaves that serve as the primary food source for isopods, and (to a lesser extent) the microbiomes of herbivores themselves, little has been studied about the community assembly dynamics of herbivore microbial communities. In this study, the intertidal herbivore P. resecata (order: Isopoda) was fed three different common macrophyte diets (Z. marina, U. lactuca, and L. saccharina) and the 16S rRNA genes of the microbial communities from the leaves of each diet, isopod gastrointestinal (GIT) content, and fecal pellets were amplified and sequenced with Illumina MiSeq sequencing. These data were cleaned using a DADA2 pipeline in R studio and the community complexity, structure, and prevalent taxa were examined for changes between each compartment sampled and based on diet treatment. Fecal pellets and macrophyte leaf samples showed structural differences based on macrophyte type. An authentic, present, and stable GIT content microbiome was found; no changes were found between the GIT microbiome of P. resecata fed different macrophytes, providing support to the growing body of work indicating a GIT-associated microbiome is present in marine isopods.
  • Key Words: microbiome, intertidal isopod, beta diversity
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