Altered microbiomes of aquatic macroinvertebrates and riparian spiders downstream of municipal wastewater effluents
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Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) contain numerous contaminants, including antimicrobials, that could affect the composition of the beneficial bacterial communities associated with host aquatic organisms. There is also potential for these effects to transfer to terrestrial predators. Riparian spiders and five families of aquatic macroinvertebrates were collected from sites upstream and downstream of two WWTPs, Waterloo and Kitchener, discharging to the Grand River, Ontario, Canada. Whole-body microbiota were analyzed following the extraction, PCR amplification, and sequencing of bacterial DNA using the V3-V4 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA genetic barcode. Changes in the relative abundance of major microbiome phyla were observed in all downstream aquatic insects except Hydropsychidae caddisflies, which exhibited little site variation. Shannon alpha diversity differed among sites for Tetragnathidae spiders, Perlidae, Hydropsychidae, and Heptageniidae. Downstream of the Waterloo WWTP alpha diversity decreased in spiders, while downstream of the Kitchener WWTP this measure decreased in Perlidae and increased in spiders. Bray-Curtis beta diversity was dissimilar among sites in all invertebrate taxa; upstream sites differed from those downstream of Waterloo in spiders, Perlidae, and Hydropsychidae, and from those downstream of Kitchener in spiders, Perlidae, and Hydropsychidae. Finally, effluent-derived bacteria were found in the microbiomes of downstream spiders and aquatic insects and not upstream. Overall, results indicated that the microbiomes of invertebrates collected downstream differed from those collected upstream of WWTPs, which has implications for altered host health and transport of WWTP-derived bacteria through aquatic ecosystems.
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