Host-specific and pH-dependent microbiomes of copepods in an extensive rearing system

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Copepods are to an increasing extent cultivated as feed for mariculture fish larvae with variable production success. In the temperate climate zone, this production faces seasonal limitation due to changing abiotic factors, in particular temperature and light. Furthermore, the production of copepods may be influenced by biotic factors of the culture systems, such as competing microorganisms, harmful algae, or other eukaryotes and prokaryotes that may be non-beneficial for the copepods. In this study, the composition of bacteria associated with copepods was investigated in an extensive outdoor copepod production system. Light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy revealed that bacteria were primarily found attached to the exoskeleton of copepods although a few bacteria were also found in the gut as well as internally in skeletal muscle tissue. Through 16S rRNA gene-targeted denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis, a clear difference was found between the microbiomes of the two copepod species, Acartia tonsa and Centropages hamatus, present in the system. This pattern was corroborated through 454/FLX-based 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of copepod microbiomes, which furthermore showed that the abiotic parameters pH and oxygen concentration in rearing tank water were the key factors influencing composition of copepod microbiomes.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)e0132516
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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