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Unraveling the predictive role of temperature in the gut microbiota of the sea urchin Echinometra sp. EZ across spatial and temporal gradients


Ketchum, Remi et al. (2021), Unraveling the predictive role of temperature in the gut microbiota of the sea urchin Echinometra sp. EZ across spatial and temporal gradients, Dryad, Dataset,


Shifts in microbial communities represent a rapid response mechanism for host organisms to respond to changes in environmental conditions. Therefore, they are likely to be important in assisting the acclimatization of hosts to seasonal temperature changes as well as to variation in temperatures across a species’ range. The Persian/Arabian Gulf is the world's warmest sea, with large seasonal fluctuations in temperature (20℃ - 37℃) and is connected to the Gulf of Oman which experiences more typical oceanic conditions (<32℃ in the summer). This system is an informative model for understanding how symbiotic microbial assemblages respond to thermal variation across temporal and spatial scales. Here, we elucidate the role of temperature on the microbial gut community of the sea urchin Echinometra sp. EZ and identify microbial taxa that are tightly correlated with the thermal environment. We generated two independent datasets with a high degree of geographic and temporal resolution. The results show that microbial communities vary across thermally variable habitats, display temporal shifts that correlate with temperature, and can become more disperse as temperatures rise. The relative abundances of several ASVs significantly correlate with temperature in both independent datasets despite the >300 km distance between the furthest sites and the extreme seasonal variations. Notably, over 50% of the temperature predictive ASVs identified from the two datasets belonged to the family Vibrionaceae. Together, our results identify temperature as a robust predictor of community-level variation and highlight specific microbial taxa putatively involved in the response to thermal environment.


Please see manuscript.

Usage Notes

metadata_season_var - Metadata for the temporal series with metadata values

metadata_site.tsv - Metadata for the summer winter spatial series with metadata values 

seqdna.fasta - All 16S sequences with corresponding ASV identifier 

siteseason.featuretable.txt - ASV table for both datasets, nonrarified, not filtered. Contains ASV ID from QIIME with our shortened ASV ID 

totaluniqtax.tsv - ASV ID with taxonomic identifier


*Please note the identifiers CG and MS, as well as AF and AH are used interchangeably throughout some of these documents. 


National Sleep Foundation, Award: 1924498