Intense research has been conducted on jellyfish and ctenophores in recent years. They are increasingly recognised as key elements in the marine ecosystem that serve as critical indicators and drivers of ecosystem performance and change. However, the bacterial community associated with ctenophores is still poorly investigated. Based on Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) and 16S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) amplicon pyrosequencing, we investigated bacterial communities associated with the frequently occurring ctenophore species Mnemiopsis leidyi, Beroe sp., Bolinopsis infundibulum and Pleurobrachia pileus at Helgoland Roads in the German Bight (North Sea). We observed significant differences between the associated bacterial communities of the different ctenophore species based on ARISA patterns. With respect to bacterial taxa, all ctenophore species were dominated by Proteobacteria as revealed by pyrosequencing. M. leidyi and P. pileus mainly harboured Gammaproteobacteria, with Marinomonas as the dominant phylotype of M. leidyi. By contrast, Pseudoalteromonas and Psychrobacter were the most abundant Gammaproteobacteria in P. pileus. Beroe sp. was mainly dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, particularly by the genus Thalassospira. For B. infundibulum, the bacterial community was composed of Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria in equal parts, which consisted of the genera Thalassospira and Marinomonas. In addition, the bacterial communities associated with M. leidyi display a clear variation over time that needs further investigation. Our results indicate that the bacterial communities associated with ctenophores are highly species-specific.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES II (2014-2018) > TOPIC 2: Fragile coasts and shelf sea > WP 2.2: Species interactions in changing and exploited coastal seas