Intraspecific Variation in the Skin-Associated Microbiome of a Terrestrial Salamander

  • Sofia R. Prado-Irwin
  • Alicia K. Bird
  • Andrew G. Zink
  • Vance T. Vredenburg
Host Microbe Interactions

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-017-0986-y

Cite this article as:
Prado-Irwin, S.R., Bird, A.K., Zink, A.G. et al. Microb Ecol (2017). doi:10.1007/s00248-017-0986-y


Resident microbial communities living on amphibian skin can have significant effects on host health, yet the basic ecology of the host-microbiome relationship of many amphibian taxa is poorly understood. We characterized intraspecific variation in the skin microbiome of the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica, a subspecies composed of four genetically distinct populations distributed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, USA. We found that salamanders from four geographically and genetically isolated populations harbor similar skin microbial communities, which are dominated by a common core set of bacterial taxa. Additionally, within a population, the skin microbiome does not appear to differ significantly between salamanders of different ages or sexes. In all cases, the salamander skin microbiomes were significantly different from those of the surrounding terrestrial environment. These results suggest that the relationship between E. e. xanthoptica salamanders and their resident skin microbiomes is conserved, possibly indicating a stable mutualism between the host and microbiome.


Amphibian Microbiome Symbiosis Ensatina eschscholtzii 

Supplementary material

248_2017_986_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (9 kb)
Supplementary Table 1Sequences of Illumina primers used for amplicon sequencing (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, USA). (XLSX 8 kb)
248_2017_986_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (18 kb)
Supplementary Table 2Complete list of core bacterial OTUs and average abundances by sample group. (*) indicates an OTU with previously-documented antifungal properties. (XLSX 18 kb)
248_2017_986_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary Table 3List of bacterial OTUs unique to one population. All unique OTUs were present at <0.01% abundance. The East Bay population had the most unique OTUs. (XLSX 15 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Science Foundation
  • IOS - 1258133
  • DGE-1144152
National Institutes of Health (US)
  • R25-GM059298

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sofia R. Prado-Irwin
    • 1
  • Alicia K. Bird
    • 2
  • Andrew G. Zink
    • 3
  • Vance T. Vredenburg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Evolution and EcologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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