Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Microbiota-macroalgal relationships at a Hawaiian intertidal bench are influenced by macroalgal Phyla and associated thallus complexity.

Abstract

The ocean represents the largest biome on earth; however, we have only begun to understand the diversity and function of the marine microbial inhabitants and their interactions with macroalgal species. Macroalgae play an integral role in overall ocean biome health and serve both as major primary producers and foundation species in the ecosystem. Previous studies have been limited, focusing on the microbiome of a single algal species or its interaction with selected microbes. This project aimed to understand overall biodiversity of microbial communities associated with five common macroalgal species and to determine the drivers of these communities at 'Ewa Beach, O'ahu, HI. Representative species of Chlorophyta (green), Ochrophyta (brown), and Rhodophyta (red) algae, each species having various levels of calcification, thallus complexity, and status as native or invasive species, were collected from an intertidal bench in May 2019. A portion of the V3-V4 variable region of the small-subunit rRNA gene was amplified for high-throughput sequencing using universal bacterial primers to elucidate the core and variable algal microbiome. Significant differences in bacterial community composition were only partially explained by host species, whether the host was native or invasive, and thallus complexity. Macroalgal phylum explained the most variation in associated microbial communities at 'Ewa Beach. This study advances our understanding of microbial- macroalgal interactions and their connectivity by producing insight into factors that influence the community structure of macroalga-associated microbiota.