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Title: Evaluating Methods of Preserving Aquatic Invertebrates for Microbiome Analysis
Research on the microbiomes of animals has increased substantially within the past decades. More recently, microbial analyses of aquatic invertebrates have become of increased interest. The storage method used while collecting aquatic invertebrates has not been standardized throughout the scientific community, and the effects of common storage methods on the microbial composition of the organism is unknown. Using crayfish and dragonfly nymphs collected from a natural pond and crayfish maintained in an aquarium, the effects of two common storage methods, preserving in 95% ethanol and freezing at −20 °C, on the invertebrate bacterial microbiome was evaluated. We found that the bacterial community was conserved for two sample types (gut and exoskeleton) of field-collected crayfish stored either in ethanol or frozen, as was the gut microbiome of aquarium crayfish. However, there were significant differences between the bacterial communities found on the exoskeleton of aquarium crayfish stored in ethanol compared to those that were frozen. Dragonfly nymphs showed significant differences in gut microbial composition between species, but the microbiome was conserved between storage methods. These results demonstrate that preserving field-collected specimens of aquatic invertebrates in 95% ethanol is likely to be a simple and effective sample preservation method for subsequent gut microbiome more » analysis but is less reliable for the external microbiome. « less
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