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SFS Annual Meeting

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HIGH THROUGHPUT SEQUENCING, HABITAT, AND BEHAVIORAL STUDIES TO ANALYZE THE ROLE OF OLIGOCHAETES IN THE DIET OF LEBERTIA WATER MITES

Background: Among microinvertebrates, water mites are understudied esthetically beautiful carnivorous animals. Until high-throughput sequencing studies by Vasquez (2017 Ph.D. dissertation), the hypothesized diets of water mites was mainly based on laboratory feeding studies and not on what animals ingested in nature. Using LCOI/mLep primers, Vasquez identified chironomid DNA in freshly collected Lebertia mites and made the unexpected discovery of numerous oligochaete sequences as well. Methods: Using a species-specific Lebertia COI blocking primer to reduce Lebertia amplification, non-Lebertia dietary DNA was amplified with LCOI/HCOI Folmer primers, followed by GenBank BLASTS of miSeq sequences to determine diet diversity. We also compared sequences of oligochaetes from the Lebertia habitat, and conducted behavioral/DNA experiments to determine if water mites attack oligochaetes and ingest their DNA. Results: Oligochaete DNA was found, including invasive Branchiura sowerbyi, confirmed also in the habitat. Lebertia avidly attacked B. sowerbyi. Many detected oligochaete sequences are unknown (GenBank identities <95%) while many naidid oligochaetes in the habitat were not in the mites, possibly indicating feeding selectivity. Conclusion: The Vasquez (2017) observation of oligochaetes in water mite diets is confirmed but selectivity, universality, etc remain to be explored.

Gina Wulff (Primary Presenter/Author), Wayne State University, gwulff@med.wayne.edu;


Adrian Vasquez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, avasquez@med.wayne.edu;


Mario McGhee, Jr. (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, mario.mcghee@wayne.edu;


Tiffany Burris (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, tiffany.burris@wayne.edu;


Jasmine Brockman (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, jasmine.brockman@wayne.edu;


Zeyu Li (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, zeyu.li@wayne.edu;


Katherine Gurdziel (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, gurdziel@wayne.edu;


Obadeh Mohiddin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, obadeh.mohiddin@wayne.edu;


Jeffrey Ram (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Wayne State University, jeffram@wayne.edu;