, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 83-98
Date: 26 Feb 2011

Microbial diversity in Frenulata (Siboglinidae, Polychaeta) species from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic)

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Abstract

Frenulates are a group of gutless marine annelids belonging to the Siboglinidae that are nutritionally dependent upon endosymbiotic bacteria. We have characterized the bacteria associated with several frenulate species from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz by PCR-DGGE of bacterial 16S rRNA genes, coupled with analysis of 16S rRNA gene libraries. In addition to the primary symbiont, bacterial consortia (microflora) were found in all species analysed. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the primary symbiont in most cases belongs to the Gammaproteobacteria and were related to thiotrophic and methanotrophic symbionts from other marine invertebrates, whereas members of the microflora were related to multiple bacterial phyla. This is the first molecular evidence of methanotrophic bacteria in at least one frenulate species. In addition, the occurrence of the same bacterial phylotype in different Frenulata species, from different depths and mud volcanoes suggests that there is no selection for specific symbionts and corroborates environmental acquisition as previously proposed for this group of siboglinids.

Clara F. Rodrigues and Ana Hilário have contributed equally to this work.