DISCOVERING THE MUSSEL BED MICROBIOME
Heterotrophic microbes play critical roles in nutrient cycling, changing biologically unavailable nutrients into accessible forms which supports autotrophic production. The interactions between assemblages of microbes (microbiome), multicellular organisms that host them, and the environment are understudied, especially in freshwater systems. Freshwater mussels (Unionoida) link water column and sediment microbiomes through filter feeding and aerobic and anaerobic sediments by burrowing, and thus are a good study system to investigate microbiome-host-environment interactions. Freshwater mussels play important roles in nutrient cycling by biodepositing feces and pseudofeces (mucus encapsulated rejected food particles) that are rich in N, and recent works shows they also promote the proliferation of anammox cycling bacteria in the sediment. To investigate linkages between mussels and microbiome composition, in summer of 2017 we collected mussel fecal samples and sediment samples from plots in the Kiamichi River that were part of a larger experiment. We have sequenced the v4 region of the 16s RNA gene for analysis. We predict there will be an increase in sediment microbial species specializing in nitrogen removal within the mussel bed and that sediment microbiomes will most closely resemble the fecal microbiome of the closest mussel species.
Edward Higgins (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Oklahoma, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Thomas Parr (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Oklahoma, Thomas.email@example.com;
Caryn Vaughn (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Oklahoma, firstname.lastname@example.org;