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Title: Microbiome-mediated adaptation to climate change: how gut microbes drive resistance to toxic algal blooms
Authors: Macke, Emilie
Callens, Martijn
De Meester, Luc
Muylaert, Koenraad
Decaestecker, Ellen
Issue Date: 2015
Conference: Benelux Zoology Congress 2015 location:Amsterdam date:October 2015
Abstract: In recent decades, the synergistic effects of eutrophication and climate warming have led to a strong increase in the occurrence of toxic cyanobacteria blooms in lakes, ponds and reservoirs worldwide. Cyanobacteria are known to produce a range of powerful toxins, including microcystins, which cause various health problems and even death in livestock and humans. In aquatic ecosystems, cyanobacteria blooms have strong negative effects on zooplankton grazers and might threaten the stability of freshwater communities. Earlier studies have reported that toxin resistance in the main grazers of cyanobacteria is influenced by both genotype and earlier exposure to cyanobacteria. Through gut microbiota transplant experiments in the water flea Daphnia, we here show that genotype-dependent gut microbiota convey resistance to toxic cyanobacteria. Recipient Daphnia survived and reproduced better upon toxic cyanobacteria exposure when inoculated with the gut microbiota from resistant, but not from susceptible clones. The level of resistance to toxic cyanobacteria depended on the genotype of the donor but not of the recipient, suggesting that Daphnia genotypes does not influence resistance to cyanobacteria directly, but indirectly by shaping the gut microbial community. In addition, we found that the gut microbiota provided more effective protection when the donor had previously been fed toxic cyanobacteria, suggesting that the microbial community responded to become more efficient in degrading cyanobacterial toxins after prior exposure. Our results provide evidence that the gut microbiota acts as an extended phenotype of Daphnia genotypes that increases the capacity of the host to cope with foodborne toxins. As a result, gut microbiomes might be an important mediator of the genetic mosaic of coevolution between toxic cyanobacteria and their grazers, and a key determinant of how freshwater ecosystems respond to climate change.
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Biology, Campus Kulak Kortrijk
Department of Biology - miscellaneous
Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section

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