Berggren H, Tibblin P, Yıldırım Y, Broman E, Larsson P, Lundin D, Forsman A
Front Microbiol 12 (-) 767770 [2022-01-21; online 2022-01-21]
Fish skin-associated microbial communities are highly variable among populations and species and can impact host fitness. Still, the sources of variation in microbiome composition, and particularly how they vary among and within host individuals, have rarely been investigated. To tackle this issue, we explored patterns of variation in fish skin microbiomes across different spatial scales. We conducted replicate sampling of dorsal and ventral body sites of perch (Perca fluviatilis) from two populations and characterized the variation of fish skin-associated microbial communities with 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding. Results showed a high similarity of microbiome samples taken from the left and right side of the same fish individuals, suggesting that fish skin microbiomes can be reliably assessed and characterized even using a single sample from a specific body site. The microbiome composition of fish skin differed markedly from the bacterioplankton communities in the surrounding water and was highly variable among individuals. No ASV was present in all samples, and the most prevalent phyla, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, varied in relative abundance among fish hosts. Microbiome composition was both individual- and population specific, with most of the variation explained by individual host. At the individual level, we found no diversification in microbiome composition between dorsal and ventral body sites, but the degree of intra-individual heterogeneity varied among individuals. To identify how genetic and phenotypic characteristics of fish hosts impact the rate and nature of intra-individual temporal dynamics of the skin microbiome, and thereby contribute to the host-specific patterns documented here, remains an important task for future research.