Composition and dynamics of the gill microbiota of an invasive Indo-Pacific oyster in the eastern Mediterranean Sea

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SummaryGill bacterial communities of Chama pacifica, an Indo-Pacific invasive oyster to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, were compared with those of Chama savignyi, its northern Red Sea congeneric species. Summer and winter bacterial populations were characterized and compared using 16S rDNA clone libraries, and seasonal population dynamics were monitored by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA). Clone libraries revealed a specific clade of bacteria, closely related to marine endosymbionts from the Indo-Pacific, found in both ecosystems, of which one taxon was conserved in oysters from both sites. This taxon was dominant in summer libraries and was weakly present in winter ones, where other members of this group were dominant. ARISA results revealed significant seasonal variation in bacterial populations of Mediterranean Sea oysters, as opposed to Red Sea ones that were stable throughout the year. We suggest that this conserved association between bacteria and oyster reflects either a symbiosis between the oyster host and some of its bacteria, a co-invasion of both parties, or both.

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