Cutting out the middle clam: lucinid endosymbiotic bacteria are also associated with seagrass roots worldwide

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  • Belinda C. Martin, University of Western Australia, Ooid Scientific
  • ,
  • Jen A. Middleton, University of Western Australia, Ooid Scientific
  • ,
  • Matthew W. Fraser, University of Western Australia
  • ,
  • Ian P.G. Marshall
  • Vincent V. Scholz
  • Bertram Hausl, University of Vienna
  • ,
  • Hannes Schmidt, University of Vienna

Seagrasses and lucinid bivalves inhabit highly reduced sediments with elevated sulphide concentrations. Lucinids house symbiotic bacteria (Ca. Thiodiazotropha) capable of oxidising sediment sulphide, and their presence in sediments has been proposed to promote seagrass growth by decreasing otherwise phytotoxic sulphide levels. However, vast and productive seagrass meadows are present in ecosystems where lucinids do not occur. Hence, we hypothesised that seagrasses themselves host these sulphur-oxidising Ca. Thiodiazotropha that could aid their survival when lucinids are absent. We analysed newly generated and publicly available 16S rRNA gene sequences from seagrass roots and sediments across 14 seagrass species and 10 countries and found that persistent and colonising seagrasses across the world harbour sulphur-oxidising Ca. Thiodiazotropha, regardless of the presence of lucinids. We used fluorescence in situ hybridisation to visually confirm the presence of Ca. Thiodiazotropha on roots of Halophila ovalis, a colonising seagrass species with wide geographical, water depth range, and sedimentary sulphide concentrations. We provide the first evidence that Ca. Thiodiazotropha are commonly present on seagrass roots, providing another mechanism for seagrasses to alleviate sulphide stress globally.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftISME Journal
Vol/bind14
Sider (fra-til)2901-2905
Antal sider5
ISSN1751-7362
DOI
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020

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