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Microbial communities developing within bulk sediments under fish carcasses on a tidal flat

Cite this dataset

Kawamoto, Yasutake; Kato, Hiromi; Nagata, Yuji; Urabe, Jotaro (2021). Microbial communities developing within bulk sediments under fish carcasses on a tidal flat [Dataset]. Dryad.


Animal carcasses are often brought into tidal flats where they are at the boundary between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Since these carcasses act as microhabitats with large amounts of energy and nutrients, they likely develop unique bacterial assemblages in the ambient sediment, which in turn may stimulate colonization of other organisms such as protozoans. However, little is known about the microbial assemblages colonized in sediment around animal carcasses in the tidal zone. Herein we examined the bacterial and ciliophoran assemblages developed in association with fish carcasses by incubating the carcasses in the Higashiyachi tidal flat (Sendai, Japan). We collected sediment samples at 2, 9, and 42 days of incubation and analyzed the bacterial and ciliophoran assemblages by 16S and 18S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We observed significant differences in the composition and relative abundance of bacterial and ciliophoran operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between the sediments with and without the carcasses. Our analyses suggest that these unique assemblages were created through the direct effects of the carcass and indirect effects through interactions between bacteria and ciliophorans. These results also suggest that animal carcasses developed a temporally unique microbial food web in the sediments close to the carcasses, although it disappeared for several weeks.


Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 16H02522

The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund*, Award: R14-1009 and R17-1011

The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund, Award: R14-1009 and R17-1011