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Host identity and symbiotic association affects the genetic and taxonomic diversity of the clownfish-hosting sea anemone microbiome

Citation

Titus, Benjamin et al. (2020), Host identity and symbiotic association affects the genetic and taxonomic diversity of the clownfish-hosting sea anemone microbiome, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sbcc2fr28

Abstract

All eukaryotic life engages in symbioses with a diverse community of bacteria that are essential for performing basic life functions. In many cases, eukaryotic organisms form additional symbioses with other macroscopic eukaryotes. The tightly-linked physical interactions that characterize many macroscopic symbioses creates opportunities for microbial transfer, which likely affects the diversity and function of individual microbiomes, and may ultimately lead to microbiome convergence between distantly related taxa. Here, we sequence the microbiomes of five species of clownfish-hosting sea anemones that co-occur on coral reefs in the Maldives. We test the importance of evolutionary history, clownfish symbiont association, and habitat on the genetic and predicted functional diversity of the microbiome, and explore signals of microbiome convergence in anemone taxa that have evolved symbioses with clownfishes independently. Our data indicate that host identity shapes the majority of the genetic diversity of the clownfish-hosting sea anemone microbiome, but predicted functional microbial diversity analyses demonstrate a convergence among host anemone microbiomes, which reflect increased functional diversity over individuals that do not host clownfishes. Further, we identify up-regulated microbial functions in host anemones that are likely affected by clownfish presence. Taken together our study reveals an even deeper metabolic coupling between clownfishes and their host anemones, and what could be a previously unknown mutualistic benefit to anemones that are symbiotic with clownfishes