Microbial Assemblages in Relation to Host and Environmental Surroundings

Mark Fischer, Dr. Kyle Harris and Dr. Matthew Becker, Department of Biology and Chemistry, 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24515

Communities of bacteria inhabit almost every habitat on the planet, from human digestive systems to freshwater bodies.  In addition, there is an ever-expanding realization of the importance of microbiomes to the health of associated organisms. Microbes play a fundamental role within freshwater ecosystems as they influence stream health and interspecies relationships, providing support for an organism and environment’s health. As a host to various epibionts in freshwater streams, crayfish have been shown to provide a unique habitat for bacterial and annelid ectosymbionts (branchiobdellidan worms).  This project will focus on the microbial assemblages in the environment (water and substrate) along with two microsites (ventral abdomen and gill chamber) on Cambarus spp. of crayfish where branchiobdellidan worms (BWs) are commonly found.
Recent findings in this lab have revealed a significant difference in the microbial community assembly (MCA) of varyng sample types (water, substrate, and crayfish), but this experiment will also compare microsites on the crayfish (ventral abdomen and gill chamber) with the environment (water and substrate). The MCA will be assessed with DNA fingerprinting of the 16S gene and next generation sequencing followed by QIIME2 bioinformatics analysis. We expect to find that the a-diversity of the crayfish MCA in relation to the surrounding environment (water and substrate) to be significantly different (corresponding to previous experimental findings). We also expect that the MCA a-diversity of the crayfish microhabitats (ventral abdomen and gill chamber) to be significantly different from one another, with the ventral abdomen being more closely associated with the substrate and the gill chamber MCA being more closely associated with the water.  The purpose of this project is to enhance the broader understanding of freshwater ecosystems due to the interactions among BWs and the MCA on crayfish and the MCA associated with the environment.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Mark Fischer

Institution: Liberty University

Type: Poster

Subject: Microbiology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5667