Variation in Survival and Gut Microbiome Composition of Hatchery-Grown Native Oysters at Various Locations within the Puget Sound
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.01982-21
The Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) of the Puget Sound suffered a dramatic population crash, but restoration efforts hope to revive this native species. One overlooked variable in the process of assessing ecosystem health is association of bacteria with marine organisms and the environments they occupy. Oyster microbiomes are known to differ significantly between species, tissue type, and the habitat in which they are found. The goals of this study were to determine the impact of field site and habitat on the oyster microbiome and to identify core oyster-associated bacteria in the Puget Sound. Olympia oysters from one parental family were deployed at four sites in the Puget Sound both inside and outside of eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of the oyster gut, shell, and surrounding seawater and sediment, we demonstrate that gut-associated bacteria are distinct from the surrounding environment and vary by field site. Furthermore, regional differences in the gut microbiota are associated with the survival rates of oysters at each site after 2 months of field exposure. However, habitat type had no influence on microbiome diversity. Further work is needed to identify the specific bacterial dynamics that are associated with oyster physiology and survival rates. IMPORTANCE This is the first exploration of the microbial colonizers of the Olympia oyster, a native oyster species to the West Coast, which is a focus of restoration efforts. The patterns of differential microbial colonization by location reveal microscale characteristics of potential restoration sites which are not typically considered. These microbial dynamics can provide a more holistic perspective on the factors that may influence oyster performance.