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Diversity of the holopelagic Sargassum microbiome from the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt to coastal stranding locations
Theirlynck, T.; Mendonça, I.R.W.; Engelen, A.H.; Bolhuis, H.; Collado-Vides, L.; van Tussenbroek, B.I.; García-Sánchez, M.; Zettler, E.R.; Muyzer, G.; Amaral-Zettler, L. (2023). Diversity of the holopelagic Sargassum microbiome from the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt to coastal stranding locations. Harmful Algae 122: 102369.
In: Harmful Algae. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam; Shannon; Paris. ISSN 1568-9883; e-ISSN 1878-1470, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Bacteria; Host-specificity; Vibrio; Ecosystem health; Dysbiosis

Auteurs  Top 
  • Theirlynck, T., meer
  • Mendonça, I.R.W.
  • Engelen, A.H.
  • Bolhuis, H., meer
  • Collado-Vides, L.
  • van Tussenbroek, B.I.
  • García-Sánchez, M.
  • Zettler, E.R., meer
  • Muyzer, G., meer
  • Amaral-Zettler, L., meer


    The holopelagic brown macroalgae Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans form essential habitats for attached and mobile fauna which contributes to a unique biodiversity in the Atlantic Ocean.However, holopelagic Sargassum natans (genotype I & VIII) and Sargassum fluitans (genotype III) have begun forming large accumulations with subsequent strandings on the western coast of Africa, the Caribbean and northern Brazil, threatening local biodiversity of coastal ecosystems and triggering economic losses. Moreover, stranded masses of holopelagic Sargassum may introduce or facilitate growthof bacteria that are not normally abundant in coastal regions where Sargassum is washing ashore. Hitherto, it is not clear how the holopelagic Sargassum microbiome varies across its growing biogeographic range and what factors drive the microbial composition. We determined the microbiome associated with holopelagic Sargassum from the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt to coastal stranding sites in Mexico and Florida. We characterized the Sargassum microbiome via amplicon sequencing of the 16S V4 region hypervariable region of the rRNA gene. The microbial community of holopelagic Sargassum was mainly composed of photo(hetero)trophs, organic matter degraders andpotentially pathogenic bacteria from thePseudomonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae andVibrionaceae. Sargassum genotypes S. natans I, S. natans VIII and S. fluitans III contained similar microbial families, but relative abundances and diversity varied. LEfSEanalyses further indicated biomarker genera that were indicative of Sargassum S. natans I/VIII and S. fluitans III. The holopelagic Sargassum microbiome showed biogeographic patterning with high relative abundances of Vibrio spp., but additional work is required to determine whether that represents health risks in coastal environments. Our study informs coastal management policy, where the adverse sanitary effects of stranded Sargassum might impact the health of coastal ecosystems.

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