Fast acquisition of a polysaccharide fermenting gut microbiome by juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas after settlement in coastal habitats
Prenafeta-Boldú, Francesc X.
Background: Tetrapods do not express hydrolases for cellulose and hemicellulose assimilation, and hence, the independent acquisition of herbivory required the establishment of new endosymbiotic relationships between tetrapods and microbes. Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are one of the three groups of marine tetrapods with an herbivorous diet and which acquire it after several years consuming pelagic animals. We characterized the microbiota present in the feces and rectum of 24 young wild and captive green turtles from the coastal waters of Brazil, with curved carapace length ranging from 31.1 to 64.7 cm, to test the hypotheses that (1) the ontogenetic dietary shift after settlement is followed by a gradual change in the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome, (2) differences exist between the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome of green turtles from tropical and subtropical regions, and (3) the consumption of omnivorous diets modifies the gut microbiota of green turtles. Results: A genomic library of 2,186,596 valid bacterial 16S rRNA reads was obtained and these sequences were grouped into 6321 different operational taxonomic units (at 97% sequence homology cutoff). The results indicated that most of the juvenile green turtles less than 45 cm of curved carapace length exhibited a fecal microbiota co-dominated by representatives of the phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes and high levels of Clostridiaceae, Prophyromonas, Ruminococaceae, and Lachnospiraceae within the latter phylum. Furthermore, this was the only microbiota profile found in wild green turtles > 45 cm CCL and in most of the captive green turtles of any size feeding on a macroalgae/fish mixed diet. Nevertheless, microbial diversity increased with turtle size and was higher in turtles from tropical than from subtropical regions. Conclusions: These results indicate that juvenile green turtles from the coastal waters of Brazil had the same general microbiota, regardless of body size and origin, and suggest a fast acquisition of a polysaccharide fermenting gut microbiota by juvenile green turtles after settlement into coastal habitats.
59 - Zoologia
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Campos, P., Guivernau, M., Prenafeta-Boldú, F., & Cardona, L. (2018). Fast acquisition of a polysaccharide fermenting gut microbiome by juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas after settlement in coastal habitats. Microbiome, 6(1). doi:10.1186/s40168-018-0454-z
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