The Baltic Sea is characterized by hyposaline surface waters, hypoxic and anoxic deep waters and sediments. These conditions, which in turn lead to a steep oxygen gradient, are particularly evident at Landsort Deep in the Baltic Proper. Given these substantial differences in environmental parameters at Landsort Deep, we performed a metagenomic census spanning surface to sediment to establish whether the microbial communities at this site are as stratified as the physical environment. We report strong stratification across a depth transect for both functional capacity and taxonomic affiliation, with functional capacity corresponding most closely to key environmental parameters of oxygen, salinity and temperature. We report similarities in functional capacity between the hypoxic community and hadal zone communities, underscoring the substantial degree of eutrophication in the Baltic Proper. Reconstruction of the nitrogen cycle at Landsort deep shows potential for syntrophy between archaeal ammonium oxidizers and bacterial denitrification at anoxic depths, while anaerobic ammonium oxidation genes are absent, despite substantial ammonium levels below the chemocline. Our census also reveals enrichment in genetic prerequisites for a copiotrophic lifestyle and resistance mechanisms reflecting adaptation to prevalent eutrophic conditions and the accumulation of environmental pollutants resulting from ongoing anthropogenic pressures in the Baltic Sea.
Microorganisms associated with coastal sands serve as a natural biofilter, providing essential nutrient recycling in nearshore environments and acting to maintain coastal ecosystem health. Anthropogenic stressors often impact these ecosystems, but little is known about whether these disturbances can be identified through microbial community change. The blowout of the Macondo Prospect reservoir on April 20, 2010, which released oil hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico, presented an opportunity to examine whether microbial community composition might provide a sensitive measure of ecosystem disturbance. Samples were collected on four occasions, beginning in mid-June, during initial beach oiling, until mid-November from surface sand and surf zone waters at seven beaches stretching from Bay St. Louis, MS to St. George Island, FL USA. Oil hydrocarbon measurements and NOAA shoreline assessments indicated little to no impact on the two most eastern beaches (controls). Sequence comparisons of bacterial ribosomal RNA gene hypervariable regions isolated from beach sands located to the east and west of Mobile Bay in Alabama demonstrated that regional drivers account for markedly different bacterial communities. Individual beaches had unique community signatures that persisted over time and exhibited spatial relationships, where community similarity decreased as horizontal distance between samples increased from one to hundreds of meters. In contrast, sequence analyses detected larger temporal and less spatial variation among the water samples. Superimposed upon these beach community distance and time relationships, was increased variability in bacterial community composition from oil hydrocarbon contaminated sands. The increased variability was observed among the core, resident, and transient community members, indicating the occurrence of community-wide impacts rather than solely an overprinting of oil hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria onto otherwise relatively stable sand population structures. Among sequences classified to genus, Alcanivorax, Alteromonas, Marinobacter, Winogradskyella, and Zeaxanthinibacter exhibited the largest relative abundance increases in oiled sands.
Knowledge on spatial scales of the distribution of deep-sea life is still sparse, but highly relevant to the understanding of dispersal, habitat ranges and ecological processes. We examined regional spatial distribution patterns of the benthic bacterial community and covarying environmental parameters such as water depth, biomass and energy availability at the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site HAUSGARTEN (Eastern Fram Strait). Samples from 13 stations were retrieved from a bathymetric (1,284–3,535 m water depth, 54 km in length) and a latitudinal transect (∼ 2,500 m water depth; 123 km in length). 454 massively parallel tag sequencing (MPTS) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) were combined to describe both abundant and rare types shaping the bacterial community. This spatial sampling scheme allowed detection of up to 99% of the estimated richness on phylum and class levels. At the resolution of operational taxonomic units (97% sequence identity; OTU3%) only 36% of the Chao1 estimated richness was recovered, indicating a high diversity, mostly due to rare types (62% of all OTU3%). Accordingly, a high turnover of the bacterial community was also observed between any two sampling stations (average replacement of 79% of OTU3%), yet no direct correlation with spatial distance was observed within the region. Bacterial community composition and structure differed significantly with increasing water depth along the bathymetric transect. The relative sequence abundance of Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes decreased significantly with water depth, and that of Deferribacteres increased. Energy availability, estimated from phytodetrital pigment concentrations in the sediments, partly explained the variation in community structure. Overall, this study indicates a high proportion of unique bacterial types on relatively small spatial scales (tens of kilometers), and supports the sampling design of the LTER site HAUSGARTEN to study bacterial community shifts in this rapidly changing area of the world’s oceans.
The soil ecosystem is critical for human health, affecting aspects of the environment from key agricultural and edaphic parameters to critical influence on climate change. Soil has more unknown biodiversity than any other ecosystem. We have applied diverse DNA extraction methods coupled with high throughput pyrosequencing to explore 4.88 × 109 bp of metagenomic sequence data from the longest continually studied soil environment (Park Grass experiment at Rothamsted Research in the UK). Results emphasize important DNA extraction biases and unexpectedly low seasonal and vertical soil metagenomic functional class variations. Clustering-based subsystems and carbohydrate metabolism had the largest quantity of annotated reads assigned although <50% of reads were assigned at an E value cutoff of 10−5. In addition, with the more detailed subsystems, cAMP signaling in bacteria (3.24±0.27% of the annotated reads) and the Ton and Tol transport systems (1.69±0.11%) were relatively highly represented. The most highly represented genome from the database was that for a Bradyrhizobium species. The metagenomic variance created by integrating natural and methodological fluctuations represents a global picture of the Rothamsted soil metagenome that can be used for specific questions and future inter-environmental metagenomic comparisons. However, only 1% of annotated sequences correspond to already sequenced genomes at 96% similarity and E values of <10−5, thus, considerable genomic reconstructions efforts still have to be performed.
soil metagenomics; phylogenetic; pyrosequencing; structural biodiversity; functional biodiversity
Neonatal sepsis in the developing world is incompletely characterized. We seek to characterize the microbial spectrum involved in sepsis and determine the role of maternal transmission by comparing organisms that can be cultured from septic newborn infants and their mothers. From 80 consecutive mother-infant pairs meeting clinical criteria for neonatal sepsis, we collected infant blood and spinal fluid, and maternal blood and vaginal specimens. Identifiable bacteria were recovered from the blood in 32.5% of infants, and from 2.5% of cerebrospinal fluid cultures, for a total of 35% recoverable putative causative agents. Bacteria recovered from vaginal specimens were not concordant with those recovered from infants. Similarly there was no concordance of bacteria recovered from blood and cerebrospinal fluid. We conclude that relying on traditional bacterial culture techniques does not adequately delineate the role of maternal versus environmental sources of neonatal sepsis in this setting. More sensitive molecular approaches will be needed to properly characterize the maternal and environmental microbial community involved in neonatal sepsis in such developing countries.
Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have allowed scientists to probe increasingly complex biological systems, including the diversity of bacteria in the environment. However, despite a multitude of recent studies incorporating these methods, many questions regarding how environmental samples should be collected and stored still persist. Here, we assess the impact of different soil storage conditions on microbial community composition using Illumina-based 16S rRNA V4 amplicon sequencing. Both storage time and temperature affected bacterial community composition and structure. Frozen samples maintained the highest alpha diversity and differed least in beta diversity, suggesting the utility of cold storage for maintaining consistent communities. Samples stored for intermediate times (three and seven days) had both the highest alpha diversity and the largest differences in overall beta diversity, showing the degree of community change after sample collection. These divergences notwithstanding, differences in neither storage time nor storage temperature substantially altered overall communities relative to more than 500 previously examined soil samples. These results systematically support previous studies and stress the importance of methodological consistency for accurate characterization and comparison of soil microbiological assemblages.
GenGIS is free and open source software designed to integrate biodiversity data with a digital map and information about geography and habitat. While originally developed with microbial community analyses and phylogeography in mind, GenGIS has been applied to a wide range of datasets. A key feature of GenGIS is the ability to test geographic axes that can correspond to routes of migration or gradients that influence community similarity. Here we introduce GenGIS version 2, which extends the linear gradient tests introduced in the first version to allow comprehensive testing of all possible linear geographic axes. GenGIS v2 also includes a new plugin framework that supports the development and use of graphically driven analysis packages: initial plugins include implementations of linear regression and the Mantel test, calculations of alpha-diversity (e.g., Shannon Index) for all samples, and geographic visualizations of dissimilarity matrices. We have also implemented a recently published method for biomonitoring reference condition analysis (RCA), which compares observed species richness and diversity to predicted values to determine whether a given site has been impacted. The newest version of GenGIS supports vector data in addition to raster files. We demonstrate the new features of GenGIS by performing a full gradient analysis of an Australian kangaroo apple data set, by using plugins and embedded statistical commands to analyze human microbiome sample data, and by applying RCA to a set of samples from Atlantic Canada. GenGIS release versions, tutorials and documentation are freely available at http://kiwi.cs.dal.ca/GenGIS, and source code is available at https://github.com/beiko-lab/gengis.
Seaweeds are key species of the Baltic Sea benthic ecosystems. They are the substratum of numerous fouling epibionts like bryozoans and tubeworms. Several of these epibionts bear calcified structures and could be impacted by the high pCO2 events of the late summer upwellings in the Baltic nearshores. Those events are expected to increase in strength and duration with global change and ocean acidification. If calcifying epibionts are impacted by transient acidification as driven by upwelling events, their increasing prevalence could cause a shift of the fouling communities toward fleshy species. The aim of the present study was to test the sensitivity of selected seaweed macrofoulers to transient elevation of pCO2 in their natural microenvironment, i.e. the boundary layer covering the thallus surface of brown seaweeds. Fragments of the macroalga Fucus serratus bearing an epibiotic community composed of the calcifiers Spirorbis spirorbis (Annelida) and Electra pilosa (Bryozoa) and the non-calcifier Alcyonidium hirsutum (Bryozoa) were maintained for 30 days under three pCO2 conditions: natural 460±59 µatm, present-day upwelling1193±166 µatm and future upwelling 3150±446 µatm. Only the highest pCO2 caused a significant reduction of growth rates and settlement of S. spirorbis individuals. Additionally, S.
spirorbis settled juveniles exhibited enhanced calcification of 40% during daylight hours compared to dark hours, possibly reflecting a day-night alternation of an acidification-modulating effect by algal photosynthesis as opposed to an acidification-enhancing effect of algal respiration. E. pilosa colonies showed significantly increased growth rates at intermediate pCO2 (1193 µatm) but no response to higher pCO2. No effect of acidification on A. hirsutum colonies growth rates was observed. The results suggest a remarkable resistance of the algal macro-epibionts to levels of acidification occurring at present day upwellings in the Baltic. Only extreme future upwelling conditions impacted the tubeworm S.
spirorbis, but not the bryozoans.
Next-generation sequencing has greatly contributed to an improved ecological understanding of the human gut microbiota. Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the characteristics of this ecosystem and the ecological processes that shape it, and controversy has arisen regarding the stability of the bacterial populations and the existence of a temporal core. In this study, we have characterized the fecal microbial communities of three human individuals over a one-year period by 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA tags in order to investigate the temporal characteristics of the bacterial communities. The findings revealed a temporal core of 33 to 40 species-level Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) within subjects. Although these OTUs accounted only for around 12% of the total OTUs detected, they added up to >75% of the total sequences obtained for each individual. In order to determine the capacity of the sequencing and bioinformatic approaches applied during this study to accurately determine the proportion of a core microbiota, we analyzed the fecal microbiota of nine mice with a defined three-member community. This experiment revealed that the sequencing approach inflated the amount of rare OTUs, which introduced a significant degree of artificial variation across samples, and hence reduced the apparent fraction of shared OTUs. However, when assessing the data quantitatively by focusing on dominant lineages, the sequencing approaches deliver an accurate representation of the community. In conclusion, this study revealed that the human fecal microbiota is dominated by around 40 species that maintain persistent populations over the duration of one year. The findings allow conclusions about the ecological factors that shape the community and support the concept of a homeostatic ecosystem controlled largely by deterministic processes. Our analysis of a three-member community revealed that methodological artifacts of OTU-based approaches complicate core calculations, and these limitations have to be considered in the interpretation of microbiome studies.
High proportions of autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, implying a link between autism and abnormalities in gut microbial functions. Increasing evidence from recent high-throughput sequencing analyses indicates that disturbances in composition and diversity of gut microbiome are associated with various disease conditions. However, microbiome-level studies on autism are limited and mostly focused on pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, here we aimed to define systemic changes in gut microbiome associated with autism and autism-related GI problems. We recruited 20 neurotypical and 20 autistic children accompanied by a survey of both autistic severity and GI symptoms. By pyrosequencing the V2/V3 regions in bacterial 16S rDNA from fecal DNA samples, we compared gut microbiomes of GI symptom-free neurotypical children with those of autistic children mostly presenting GI symptoms. Unexpectedly, the presence of autistic symptoms, rather than the severity of GI symptoms, was associated with less diverse gut microbiomes. Further, rigorous statistical tests with multiple testing corrections showed significantly lower abundances of the genera Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae in autistic samples. These are intriguingly versatile carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting bacteria, suggesting a potential influence of unusual diet patterns observed in autistic children. However, multivariate analyses showed that autism-related changes in both overall diversity and individual genus abundances were correlated with the presence of autistic symptoms but not with their diet patterns. Taken together, autism and accompanying GI symptoms were characterized by distinct and less diverse gut microbial compositions with lower levels of Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae.
Microbial communities exhibit exquisitely complex structure. Many aspects of this complexity, from the number of species to the total number of interactions, are currently very difficult to examine directly. However, extraordinary efforts are being made to make these systems accessible to scientific investigation. While recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have improved accessibility to the taxonomic and functional diversity of complex communities, monitoring the dynamics of these systems over time and space - using appropriate experimental design - is still expensive. Fortunately, modeling can be used as a lens to focus low-resolution observations of community dynamics to enable mathematical abstractions of functional and taxonomic dynamics across space and time. Here we review the approaches for modeling bacterial diversity at both the very large and the very small scales at which microbial systems interact with their environments. We show that modeling can help to connect biogeochemical processes to specific microbial metabolic pathways.
The physiology of ticks supports a diverse community of non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms. This study aims to initially characterize the microbial community present within colony-reared Amblyomma americanum using PCR of the variable region 5 of the 16S rRNA gene followed by semiconductor sequencing and classification of sequence data using the Ribosomal Database Project and MG-RAST analysis tools. Comparison of amplicon library datasets revealed changes in the microbiomes in newly engorged nymphs, newly-molted adults, and aged adults, as well as ticks exposed to different environmental conditions. These preliminary data support the concept that microbe survivorship and diversity are partially dependent upon environmental variables and the sequence of blood feeding, molting, and aging. The maintenance and/or emergence of pathogens in ticks may be dependent in part on temporal changes in the microbial community of the tick microbiome.
Understanding controls over the distribution of soil bacteria is a fundamental step toward describing soil ecosystems, understanding their functional capabilities, and predicting their responses to environmental change. This study investigated the controls on the biomass, species richness, and community structure and composition of soil bacterial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, at local and regional scales. The goals of the study were to describe the relationships between abiotic characteristics and soil bacteria in this unique, microbially dominated environment, and to test the scale dependence of these relationships in a low complexity ecosystem. Samples were collected from dry mineral soils associated with snow patches, which are a significant source of water in this desert environment, at six sites located in the major basins of the Taylor and Wright Valleys. Samples were analyzed for a suite of characteristics including soil moisture, pH, electrical conductivity, soil organic matter, major nutrients and ions, microbial biomass, 16 S rRNA gene richness, and bacterial community structure and composition. Snow patches created local biogeochemical gradients while inter-basin comparisons encompassed landscape scale gradients enabling comparisons of microbial controls at two distinct spatial scales. At the organic carbon rich, mesic, low elevation sites Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria were prevalent, while Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were dominant at the high elevation, low moisture and biomass sites. Microbial parameters were significantly related with soil water content and edaphic characteristics including soil pH, organic matter, and sulfate. However, the magnitude and even the direction of these relationships varied across basins and the application of mixed effects models revealed evidence of significant contextual effects at local and regional scales. The results highlight the importance of the geographic scale of sampling when determining the controls on soil microbial community characteristics.
Bacteria are recognized as important drivers of biogeochemical processes in all aquatic ecosystems. Temporal and geographical patterns in ocean bacterial communities have been observed in many studies, but the temporal and spatial patterns in the bacterial communities from the South China Sea remained unexplored. To determine the spatiotemporal patterns, we generated 16S rRNA datasets for 15 samples collected from the five regularly distributed sites of the South China Sea in three seasons (spring, summer, winter). A total of 491 representative sequences were analyzed by MOTHUR, yielding 282 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) grouped at 97% stringency. Significant temporal variations of bacterial diversity were observed. Richness and diversity indices indicated that summer samples were the most diverse. The main bacterial group in spring and summer samples was Alphaproteobacteria, followed by Cyanobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, whereas Cyanobacteria dominated the winter samples. Spatial patterns in the samples were observed that samples collected from the coastal (D151, D221) waters and offshore (D157, D1512, D224) waters clustered separately, the coastal samples harbored more diverse bacterial communities. However, the temporal pattern of the coastal site D151 was contrary to that of the coastal site D221. The LIBSHUFF statistics revealed noticeable differences among the spring, summer and winter libraries collected at five sites. The UPGMA tree showed there were temporal and spatial heterogeneity of bacterial community composition in coastal waters of the South China Sea. The water salinity (P=0.001) contributed significantly to the bacteria-environment relationship. Our results revealed that bacterial community structures were influenced by environmental factors and community-level changes in 16S-based diversity were better explained by spatial patterns than by temporal patterns.
Oil spills threaten coastlines where biological processes supply essential ecosystem services. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how oil influences the microbial communities in sediments that play key roles in ecosystem functioning. Ecosystems such as sediments are characterized by intensive bioturbation due to burrowing macrofauna that may modify the microbial metabolisms. It is thus essential to consider the bioturbation when determining the impact of oil on microbial communities. In this study, an experimental laboratory device maintaining pristine collected mudflat sediments in microcosms closer to true environmental conditions – with tidal cycles and natural seawater – was used to simulate an oil spill under bioturbation conditions. Different conditions were applied to the microcosms including an addition of: standardized oil (Blend Arabian Light crude oil, 25.6 mg.g−1 wet sediment), the common burrowing organism Hediste (Nereis) diversicolor and both the oil and H. diversicolor. The addition of H. diversicolor and its associated bioturbation did not affect the removal of petroleum hydrocarbons. After 270 days, 60% of hydrocarbons had been removed in all microcosms irrespective of the H. diversicolor addition. However, 16S-rRNA gene and 16S-cDNA T-RFLP and RT-PCR-amplicon libraries analysis showed an effect of the condition on the bacterial community structure, composition, and dynamics, supported by PerMANOVA analysis. The 16S-cDNA libraries from microcosms where H. diversicolor was added (oiled and un-oiled) showed a marked dominance of sequences related to Gammaproteobacteria. However, in the oiled-library sequences associated to Deltaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were also highly represented. The 16S-cDNA libraries from oiled-microcosms (with and without H. diversicolor addition) revealed two distinct microbial communities characterized by different phylotypes associated to known hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria and dominated by Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria. In the oiled-microcosms, the addition of H. diversicolor reduced the phylotype-richness, sequences associated to Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Plantomycetes were not detected. These observations highlight the influence of the bioturbation on the bacterial community structure without affecting the biodegradation capacities.
Nitrogen cycle is a critical biogeochemical process of the oceans. The nitrogen fixation by sponge cyanobacteria was early observed. Until recently, sponges were found to be able to release nitrogen gas. However the gene-level evidence for the role of bacterial symbionts from different species sponges in nitrogen gas release is limited. And meanwhile, the quanitative analysis of nitrogen cycle-related genes of sponge microbial symbionts is relatively lacking. The nirK gene encoding nitrite reductase which catalyzes soluble nitrite into gas NO and nosZ gene encoding nitrous oxide reductase which catalyzes N2O into N2 are two key functional genes in the complete denitrification pathway. In this study, using nirK and nosZ genes as markers, the potential of bacterial symbionts in six species of sponges in the release of N2 was investigated by phylogenetic analysis and real-time qPCR. As a result, totally, 2 OTUs of nirK and 5 OTUs of nosZ genes were detected by gene library-based saturated sequencing. Difference phylogenetic diversity of nirK and nosZ genes were observed at OTU level in sponges. Meanwhile, real-time qPCR analysis showed that Xestospongia testudinaria had the highest abundance of nosZ gene, while Cinachyrella sp. had the greatest abundance of nirK gene. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the nirK and nosZ genes were probably of Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria origin. The results from this study suggest that the denitrification potential of bacteria varies among sponges because of the different phylogenetic diversity and relative abundance of nosZ and nirK genes in sponges. Totally, both the qualitative and quantitative analyses of nirK and nosZ genes indicated the different potential of sponge bacterial symbionts in the release of nitrogen gas.
Agrobacterium albertimagni strain AOL15 is an alphaproteobacterium isolated from arsenite-oxidizing biofilms whose draft genome contains 5.1 Mb in 55 contigs with 61.2% GC content and includes a 21-gene arsenic gene island. This is the first available genome for this species and the second Agrobacterium arsenic gene island.
The North Sea coast of the Dutch barrier island of Schiermonnikoog is covered by microbial mats that initiate a succession of plant communities that eventually results in the development of a densely vegetated salt marsh. The North Sea beach has a natural elevation running from the low water mark to the dunes resulting in gradients of environmental factors perpendicular to the beach. These gradients are due to the input of seawater at the low water mark and of freshwater from upwelling groundwater at the dunes and rainfall. The result is a natural and dynamic salinity gradient depending on the tide, rainfall and wind. We studied the microbial community composition in thirty three samples taken every ten meters along this natural salinity gradient by using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of rRNA gene fragments. We looked at representatives from each Domain of life (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya) and with a particular emphasis on Cyanobacteria. Analysis of the DGGE fingerprints together with pigment composition revealed three distinct microbial mat communities, a marine community dominated by diatoms as primary producers, an intermediate brackish community dominated by Cyanobacteria as primary producers and a freshwater community with Cyanobacteria and freshwater green algae.
Achromobacter piechaudii strain HLE is a betaproteobacterium (previously known as Alcaligenes faecalis) that was an early isolate with arsenite oxidase activity. This draft genome of 6.89 Mb is the second available genome for this species in the opportunistic pathogen Alcaligenaceae family.
The resident microbial consortia of the human gastrointestinal tract play an integral role in modulating immune responses both locally and systemically. However, detailed information regarding the effector immune responses after vaccine administration in relation to the gastrointestinal microbiota is absent. In this study, the licensed oral live-attenuated typhoid vaccine Ty21a was administered in a clinical study to investigate whether oral immunization resulted in alterations of the microbiota and to identify whether a given microbiota composition, or subsets of the community, are associated with defined S. Typhi-specific immunological responses. The fecal microbiota composition and temporal dynamics were characterized using bacterial 16S rRNA pyrosequencing from individuals who were either immunized with the Ty21a typhoid vaccine (n = 13) or served as unvaccinated controls (n = 4). The analysis revealed considerable inter- and intra-individual variability, yet no discernible perturbations of the bacterial assemblage related to vaccine administration were observed. S. Typhi-specific cell mediated immune (CMI) responses were evaluated by measurement of intracellular cytokine production using multiparametric flow cytometry, and humoral responses were evaluated by measurement of serum anti-LPS IgA and IgG titers. Volunteers were categorized according to the kinetics and magnitude of their responses. While differences in microbial composition, diversity, or temporal stability were not observed among individuals able to mount a positive humoral response, individuals displaying multiphasic CMI responses harbored more diverse, complex communities. In line with this preliminary observation, over two hundred operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were found to differentiate multiphasic and late CMI responders, the vast majority of which classified within the order Clostridiales. These results provide an unprecedented view into the dramatic temporal heterogeneity of both the gut microbiota and host immune responses.
Coral reefs of the Central Red Sea display a high degree of endemism, and are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic effects due to intense local coastal development measures. Overfishing and eutrophication are among the most significant local pressures on these reefs, but there is no information available about their potential effects on the associated microbial community. Therefore, we compared holobiont physiology and 16S-based bacterial communities of tissue and mucus of the hard coral Acropora hemprichii after 1 and 16 weeks of in-situ inorganic nutrient enrichment (via fertilizer diffusion) and/or herbivore exclusion (via caging) in an offshore reef of the Central Red Sea. Simulated eutrophication and/or overfishing treatments did not affect coral physiology with respect to coral respiration rates, chlorophyll a content, zooxanthellae abundance, or δ 15N isotopic signatures. The bacterial community of A. hemprichii was rich and uneven, and diversity increased over time in all treatments. While distinct bacterial species were identified as a consequence of eutrophication, overfishing, or both, two bacterial species that could be classified to the genus Endozoicomonas were consistently abundant and constituted two thirds of bacteria in the coral. Several nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying bacteria were found in the coral specimens that were exposed to experimentally increased nutrients. However, no particular bacterial species was consistently associated with the coral under a given treatment and the single effects of manipulated eutrophication and overfishing could not predict the combined effect. Our data underlines the importance of conducting field studies in a holobiont framework, taking both, physiological and molecular measures into account.
Although it is well known that plants and animals harbor microbial symbionts that can influence host traits, the factors regulating the structure of these microbial communities often remain largely undetermined. This is particularly true for insect-associated microbial communities, as few cross-taxon comparisons have been conducted to date. To address this knowledge gap and determine how host phylogeny and ecology affect insect-associated microbial communities, we collected 137 insect specimens representing 39 species, 28 families, and 8 orders, and characterized the bacterial communities associated with each specimen via 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Bacterial taxa within the phylum Proteobacteria were dominant in nearly all insects sampled. On average, the insect-associated bacterial communities were not very diverse, with individuals typically harboring fewer than 8 bacterial phylotypes. Bacterial communities also tended to be dominated by a single phylotype; on average, the most abundant phylotype represented 54.7% of community membership. Bacterial communities were significantly more similar among closely related insects than among less-related insects, a pattern driven by within-species community similarity but detected at every level of insect taxonomy tested. Diet was a poor predictor of bacterial community composition. Individual insect species harbored remarkably unique communities: the distribution of 69.0% of bacterial phylotypes was limited to unique insect species, whereas only 5.7% of phylotypes were detected in more than five insect species. Together these results suggest that host characteristics strongly regulate the colonization and assembly of bacterial communities across insect lineages, patterns that are driven either by co-evolution between insects and their symbionts or by closely related insects sharing conserved traits that directly select for similar bacterial communities.
This report details the outcome of the 1st Hospital Microbiome Project workshop held on June 7th-8th, 2012 at the University of Chicago, USA. The workshop was arranged to determine the most appropriate sampling strategy and approach to building science measurement to characterize the development of a microbial community within a new hospital pavilion being built at the University of Chicago Medical Center. The workshop made several recommendations and led to the development of a full proposal to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as well as to the creation of the Hospital Microbiome Consortium.
Early marker-based metagenomic studies were performed without properly accounting for the effects of noise (sequencing errors, PCR single-base errors, and PCR chimeras). Denoising algorithms have been developed, but they were validated using data derived from mock communities, in which the true sequences were known. Since the algorithms were designed to be used in real community studies, it is important to evaluate the results in such cases. With this goal in mind, we processed a real 16S rRNA metagenomic dataset through five denoising pipelines. By reconstituting the sequence reads at each stage of the pipelines, we determined how the reads were being altered. In one denoising pipeline, AmpliconNoise, we found that the algorithm that was designed to remove pyrosequencing errors changed the reads in a manner inconsistent with the known spectrum of these errors, until one of the parameters was increased substantially from its default value. Additionally, because the longest read was picked as the representative for each cluster, sequences were added to the 3′ ends of shorter reads that were often dissimilar from what had been removed by the truncations of the previous filtering step. In QIIME, the denoising algorithm caused a much larger number of changes to the reads unless the parameters were changed from their defaults. The denoising pipeline in mothur avoided some of these negative side-effects because of its strict default filtering criteria, but these criteria also greatly limited the sequence information produced at the end of the pipeline. We recommend that those using these denoising pipelines be cognizant of these issues and examine how their reads are being transformed by the denoising process as a component of their analysis.
Cold environments, such as glaciers, are large reservoirs of microbial life. The present study employed 16S rRNA gene amplicon metagenomic sequencing to survey the prokaryotic microbiota on Alaskan glacial ice, revealing a rich and diverse microbial community of some 2,500 species of bacteria and archaea.