Influence of bacteria and diatoms in biofilms on metamorphosis of the marine slipper limpet Crepidula onyx
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Larvae of the slipper limpet Crepidula onyx metamorphose in response to marine biofilms. In this study, we investigated how the percentage of larval metamorphosis in this species was affected by biofilms that differed in certain attributes. To manipulate bacterial and diatom cell densities and community composition, we developed biofilms in the laboratory (1) at different temperatures (16, 23 and 30°C) and salinities (20, 27 and 34‰), (2) with or without addition of antibiotics, and (3) in the light or in the dark. We also allowed biofilms to develop at three field sites with different prevailing environmental conditions so as to generate biofilms with different, but natural, attributes. Bacterial and diatom community composition in biofilms were determined using a DNA fingerprinting technique and microscopic examination, respectively. The effects of biofilms on metamorphosis were investigated in laboratory assays. The percentage of larval metamorphosis correlated with bacterial and diatom cell densities in only one of the three experiments conducted, but was substantially affected by differences in bacterial and diatom community composition in all three experiments. It also appears that metamorphosis of C. onyx depends on the simultaneous presence of both bacterial and diatom communities in biofilms.
KeywordsBacterial Community Community Composition Onyx Bacterial Community Composition Diatom Community
This manuscript was greatly benefited by the comments and suggestions by two anonymous reviewers, especially those on the statistical analysis and interpretation. We also wish to thank Stanley Lau (National University of Singapore) for his advice on drafting this manuscript. We are grateful to Mandy Tsoi and Ki Tam for kindly assisting in the terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and technical supports. This study was supported by the Area of excellence scheme of UGC (project#AoE/P–04/2004) and RGC grants (HKUST 6402/05M) to PY Qian.
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