skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on August 30, 2023

Title: Predictable Changes in Eelgrass Microbiomes with Increasing Wasting Disease Prevalence across 23° Latitude in the Northeastern Pacific
ABSTRACT Predicting outcomes of marine disease outbreaks presents a challenge in the face of both global and local stressors. Host-associated microbiomes may play important roles in disease dynamics but remain understudied in marine ecosystems. Host–pathogen–microbiome interactions can vary across host ranges, gradients of disease, and temperature; studying these relationships may aid our ability to forecast disease dynamics. Eelgrass, Zostera marina , is impacted by outbreaks of wasting disease caused by the opportunistic pathogen Labyrinthula zosterae . We investigated how Z. marina phyllosphere microbial communities vary with rising wasting disease lesion prevalence and severity relative to plant and meadow characteristics like shoot density, longest leaf length, and temperature across 23° latitude in the Northeastern Pacific. We detected effects of geography (11%) and smaller, but distinct, effects of temperature (30-day max sea surface temperature, 4%) and disease (lesion prevalence, 3%) on microbiome composition. Declines in alpha diversity on asymptomatic tissue occurred with rising wasting disease prevalence within meadows. However, no change in microbiome variability (dispersion) was detected between asymptomatic and symptomatic tissues. Further, we identified members of Cellvibrionaceae, Colwelliaceae, and Granulosicoccaceae on asymptomatic tissue that are predictive of wasting disease prevalence across the geographic range (3,100 kilometers). Functional roles of Colwelliaceae and more » Granulosicoccaceae are not known. Cellvibrionaceae, degraders of plant cellulose, were also enriched in lesions and adjacent green tissue relative to nonlesioned leaves. Cellvibrionaceae may play important roles in disease progression by degrading host tissues or overwhelming plant immune responses. Thus, inclusion of microbiomes in wasting disease studies may improve our ability to understand variable rates of infection, disease progression, and plant survival. IMPORTANCE The roles of marine microbiomes in disease remain poorly understood due, in part, to the challenging nature of sampling at appropriate spatiotemporal scales and across natural gradients of disease throughout host ranges. This is especially true for marine vascular plants like eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) that are vital for ecosystem function and biodiversity but are susceptible to rapid decline and die-off from pathogens like eukaryotic slime-mold Labyrinthula zosterae (wasting disease). We link bacterial members of phyllosphere tissues to the prevalence of wasting disease across the broadest geographic range to date for a marine plant microbiome-disease study (3,100 km). We identify Cellvibrionaceae, plant cell wall degraders, enriched (up to 61% relative abundance) within lesion tissue, which suggests this group may be playing important roles in disease progression. These findings suggest inclusion of microbiomes in marine disease studies will improve our ability to predict ecological outcomes of infection across variable landscapes spanning thousands of kilometers. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; « less
Editors:
Raina, Jean-Baptiste
Award ID(s):
1829992
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10355908
Journal Name:
mSystems
Volume:
7
Issue:
4
ISSN:
2379-5077
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Seagrass meadows provide valuable ecosystem benefits but are at risk from disease. Eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) is a temperate species threatened by seagrass wasting disease (SWD), caused by the protist Labyrinthula zosterae . The pathogen is sensitive to warming ocean temperatures, prompting a need for greater understanding of the impacts on host health under climate change. Previous work demonstrates pathogen cultures grow faster under warmer laboratory conditions and documents positive correlations between warmer ocean temperatures and disease levels in nature. However, the consequences of disease outbreaks on eelgrass growth remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the effect of disease on eelgrass productivity in the field. We coupled in situ shoot marking with high-resolution imagery of eelgrass blades and used an artificial intelligence application to determine disease prevalence and severity from digital images. Comparisons of eelgrass growth and disease metrics showed that SWD impaired eelgrass growth and accumulation of non-structural carbon in the field. Blades with more severe disease had reduced growth rates, indicating that disease severity can limit plant growth. Disease severity and rhizome sugar content were also inversely related, suggesting that disease reduced belowground carbon accumulation. Finally, repeated measurements of diseased blades indicated that lesions can grow fastermore »than healthy tissue in situ . This is the first study to demonstrate the negative impact of wasting disease on eelgrass health in a natural meadow. These results emphasize the importance of considering disease alongside other stressors to better predict the health and functioning of seagrass meadows in the Anthropocene.« less
  2. Kormas, Konstantinos Aristomenis (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The Olympia oyster ( Ostrea lurida ) of the Puget Sound suffered a dramatic population crash, but restoration efforts hope to revive this native species. One overlooked variable in the process of assessing ecosystem health is association of bacteria with marine organisms and the environments they occupy. Oyster microbiomes are known to differ significantly between species, tissue type, and the habitat in which they are found. The goals of this study were to determine the impact of field site and habitat on the oyster microbiome and to identify core oyster-associated bacteria in the Puget Sound. Olympia oysters from one parental family were deployed at four sites in the Puget Sound both inside and outside of eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) beds. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of the oyster gut, shell, and surrounding seawater and sediment, we demonstrate that gut-associated bacteria are distinct from the surrounding environment and vary by field site. Furthermore, regional differences in the gut microbiota are associated with the survival rates of oysters at each site after 2 months of field exposure. However, habitat type had no influence on microbiome diversity. Further work is needed to identify the specific bacterial dynamics that are associatedmore »with oyster physiology and survival rates. IMPORTANCE This is the first exploration of the microbial colonizers of the Olympia oyster, a native oyster species to the West Coast, which is a focus of restoration efforts. The patterns of differential microbial colonization by location reveal microscale characteristics of potential restoration sites which are not typically considered. These microbial dynamics can provide a more holistic perspective on the factors that may influence oyster performance.« less
  3. Seawater temperatures are increasing, with many unquantified impacts on marine diseases. While prolonged temperature stress can accelerate host-pathogen interactions, the outcomes in nature are poorly quantified. We monitored eelgrass wasting disease (EWD) from 2013-2017 and correlated mid-summer prevalence of EWD with remotely sensed seawater temperature metrics before, during, and after the 2015-2016 marine heatwave in the northeast Pacific, the longest marine heatwave in recent history. Eelgrass shoot density declined by 60% between 2013 and 2015 and did not recover. EWD prevalence ranged from 5-70% in 2013 and increased to 60-90% by 2017. EWD severity approximately doubled each year between 2015 and 2017. EWD prevalence was positively correlated with warmer temperature for the month prior to sampling while EWD severity was negatively correlated with warming prior to sampling. This complex result may be mediated by leaf growth; bigger leaves may be more likely to be diseased, but may also grow faster than lesions, resulting in lower severity. Regional stressors leading to population declines prior to or early in the heatwave may have exacerbated the effects of warming on eelgrass disease susceptibility and reduced the resilience of this critical species.
  4. Campbell, Barbara J. (Ed.)
    Marine invertebrate microbiomes play important roles in diverse host and ecological processes. However, a mechanistic understanding of host-microbe interactions is currently available for a small number of model organisms. Here, an integrated taxonomic and functional analysis of the microbiome of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, was performed using 16S rRNA gene-based amplicon profiling, shotgun metagenomics, and genome-scale metabolic reconstruction. Relatively high variability of the microbiome was observed across individual oysters and among different tissue types. Specifically, a significantly higher alpha diversity was observed in the inner shell than in the gut, gill, mantle, and pallial fluid samples, and a distinct microbiome composition was revealed in the gut compared to other tissues examined in this study. Targeted metagenomic sequencing of the gut microbiota led to further characterization of a dominant bacterial taxon, the class Mollicutes, which was captured by the reconstruction of a metagenome-assembled genome (MAG). Genome-scale metabolic reconstruction of the oyster Mollicutes MAG revealed a reduced set of metabolic functions and a high reliance on the uptake of host-derived nutrients. A chitin degradation and an arginine deiminase pathway were unique to the MAG compared to closely related genomes of Mollicutes isolates, indicating distinct mechanisms of carbon and energy acquisition bymore »the oyster-associated Mollicutes. A systematic reanalysis of public eastern oyster-derived microbiome data revealed a high prevalence of the Mollicutes among adult oyster guts and a significantly lower relative abundance of the Mollicutes in oyster larvae and adult oyster biodeposits.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Changing ocean conditions driven by anthropogenic activities may have a negative impact on fisheries by increasing stress and disease. To understand how environment and host biology drives mucosal microbiomes in a marine fish, we surveyed five body sites (gill, skin, digesta, gastrointestinal tract [GI], and pyloric ceca) from 229 Pacific chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus , collected across 38 time points spanning 1 year from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Pier (La Jolla, CA). Mucosal sites had unique microbial communities significantly different from the surrounding seawater and sediment communities with over 10 times more total diversity than seawater. The external surfaces of skin and gill were more similar to seawater, while digesta was more similar to sediment. Alpha and beta diversity of the skin and gill was explained by environmental and biological factors, specifically, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a , and fish age, consistent with an exposure gradient relationship. We verified that seasonal microbial changes were not confounded by regional migration of chub mackerel subpopulations by nanopore sequencing a 14,769-bp region of the 16,568-bp mitochondria across all temporal fish specimens. A cosmopolitan pathogen, Photobacterium damselae , was prevalent across multiple body sites all year but highest in the skin, GI,more »and digesta between June and September, when the ocean is warmest. The longitudinal fish microbiome study evaluates the extent to which the environment and host biology drives mucosal microbial ecology and establishes a baseline for long-term surveys linking environment stressors to mucosal health of wild marine fish. IMPORTANCE Pacific chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus , are one of the largest and most economically important fisheries in the world. The fish is harvested for both human consumption and fish meal. Changing ocean conditions driven by anthropogenic stressors like climate change may negatively impact fisheries. One mechanism for this is through disease. As waters warm and chemistry changes, the microbial communities associated with fish may change. In this study, we performed a holistic analysis of all mucosal sites on the fish over a 1-year time series to explore seasonal variation and to understand the environmental drivers of the microbiome. Understanding seasonality in the fish microbiome is also applicable to aquaculture production for producers to better understand and predict when disease outbreaks may occur based on changing environmental conditions in the ocean.« less