The gut content microbiome of wild-caught rainbow darter is altered during laboratory acclimation
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An increasing number of laboratory studies are showing that environmental stressors and diet affect the fish gut microbiome. However, the application of these results to wild populations is uncertain as little is known about how the gut microbiome shifts when fish are transitioned from the field to the laboratory. To assess this, intestinal contents (i.e. digesta) of wild-caught rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum) were sampled in the field and in the lab after 14- and 42-days acclimation. In addition, from days 15-42 some fish were exposed to waterborne triclosan, an antimicrobial found in aquatic ecosystems, or to dilutions of municipal wastewater effluents, to determine how these stressors affect the bacterial communities of gut contents. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was used to determine microbial community composition, alpha, and beta diversity present in the fish gut contents. In total, there was 8,074,658 reads and 11,853 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) identified. The gut contents of wild fish were dominant in both Proteobacteria (35%) and Firmicutes (27%), while lab fish were dominant in Firmicutes (37-47%) and had lower alpha diversity. Wild fish had greater ASVs per sample (423-1304) compared to lab fish (19-685). Similarly, the beta-diversity of these bacterial communities differed between field and lab control fish; control fish were distinct from the 10% wastewater effluent and 100 ng/L TCS treatment groups. Results indicate that the gut microbiome of wild fish changes with the transition to laboratory environments; hence, prolonged acclimation to new settings may be required to achieve a stable gut content microbiome in wild-caught fish. Research is required to understand the length of time required to reach a stable fish gut microbiome.
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