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Bacterial epibiont communities of panmictic Antarctic krill are spatially structured


Clarke, LJ and Suter, L and King, R and Bissett, A and Bestley, S and Deagle, BE, Bacterial epibiont communities of panmictic Antarctic krill are spatially structured, Molecular Ecology, 30, (4) pp. 1042-1052. ISSN 0962-1083 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/mec.15771


Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) are amongst the most abundant animals on Earth, with a circumpolar distribution in the Southern Ocean. Genetic and genomic studies have failed to detect any population structure for the species, suggesting a single panmictic population. However, the hyper‐abundance of krill slows the rate of genetic differentiation, masking potential underlying structure. Here we use high‐throughput sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to show that krill bacterial epibiont communities exhibit spatial structuring, driven mainly by distance rather than environmental factors, especially for strongly krill‐associated bacteria. Estimating the ecological processes driving bacterial community turnover indicated this was driven by bacterial dispersal limitation increasing with geographic distance. Furthermore, divergent epibiont communities generated from a single krill swarm split between aquarium tanks under near identical conditions suggests physical isolation in itself can cause krill‐associated bacterial communities to diverge. Our findings show that Antarctic krill‐associated bacterial communities are geographically structured, in direct contrast with the lack of structure observed for krill genetic and genomic data.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic krill, microbiomes, Kerguelen plateau, Southern Ocean, population connectivity
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Microbial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Clarke, LJ (Dr Laurence Clarke)
UTAS Author:Bestley, S (Dr Sophie Bestley)
ID Code:142051
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE180100828)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-12-10
Last Modified:2022-08-29
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