Microbiomes of Hadal Fishes across Trench Habitats Contain Similar Taxa and Known Piezophiles
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonmSphere. 2022, 7 (2), e00032-22. 10.1128/msphere.00032-22
Hadal snailfishes are the deepest-living fishes in the ocean, inhabiting trenches from depths of ∼6,000 to 8,000 m. While the microbial communities in trench environments have begun to be characterized, the microbes associated with hadal megafauna remain relatively unknown. Here, we describe the gut microbiomes of two hadal snailfishes, Pseudoliparis swirei (Mariana Trench) and Notoliparis kermadecensis (Kermadec Trench), using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We contextualize these microbiomes with comparisons to the abyssal macrourid Coryphaenoides yaquinae and the continental shelf-dwelling snailfish Careproctus melanurus. The microbial communities of the hadal snailfishes were distinct from their shallower counterparts and were dominated by the same sequences related to the Mycoplasmataceae and Desulfovibrionaceae. These shared taxa indicate that symbiont lineages have remained similar to the ancestral symbiont since their geographic separation or that they are dispersed between geographically distant trenches and subsequently colonize specific hosts. The abyssal and hadal fishes contained sequences related to known, cultured piezophiles, microbes that grow optimally under high hydrostatic pressure, including Psychromonas, Moritella, and Shewanella. These taxa are adept at colonizing nutrient-rich environments present in the deep ocean, such as on particles and in the guts of hosts, and we hypothesize they could make a dietary contribution to deep-sea fishes by degrading chitin and producing fatty acids. We characterize the gut microbiota within some of the deepest fishes to provide new insight into the diversity and distribution of host-associated microbial taxa and the potential of these animals, and the microbes they harbor, for understanding adaptation to deep-sea habitats.