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Title: Skin bacterial metacommunities of San Francisco Bay Area salamanders are structured by host genus and habitat quality

Host-associated microbial communities can influence physiological processes of macroorganisms, including contributing to infectious disease resistance. For instance, some bacteria that live on amphibian skin produce antifungal compounds that inhibit two lethal fungal pathogens, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Therefore, differences in microbiome composition among host species or populations within a species can contribute to variation in susceptibility to Bd/Bsal. This study applies 16S rRNA sequencing to characterize the skin bacterial microbiomes of three widespread terrestrial salamander genera native to the western United States. Using a metacommunity structure analysis, we identified dispersal barriers for these influential bacteria between salamander families and localities. We also analysed the effects of habitat characteristics such as percent natural cover and temperature seasonality on the microbiome. We found that certain environmental variables may influence the skin microbial communities of some salamander genera more strongly than others. Each salamander family had a somewhat distinct community of putative anti-Bd skin bacteria, suggesting that salamanders may select for a functional assembly of cutaneous symbionts that could differ in its ability to protect these amphibians from disease. Our observations raise the need to consider host identity and environmental heterogeneity during the selection of probiotics to treat wildlife diseases.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Reguera, Gemma (Ed.)
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    A freePlain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article.

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