Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Aquatic Microbial Ecology
The pteropod (pelagic snail) Limacina helicina antarctica is a dominant grazer along
the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) and plays an important role in regional food web dynamics and biogeochemical cycling. For the first time, we examined the gut microbiome and feeding ecology of L. h. antarctica based on 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequences of gut contents in the WAP during austral summer. Eukaryotic gut contents of L. h. antarctica indicate that this species predominantly feeds on diatoms and dinoflagellates, supplementing its diet with ciliates and foraminifera. Mollicutes bacteria were a consistent component of the gut microbiome. Determining the gut microbiome and feeding ecology of L. h.antarctica aids in identifying the underlying mechanisms controlling pteropod abundance and distribution in a region of rapid environmental change.
Zooplankton, Gut microbiome, Southern Ocean, Diatom, Dinoflagellate, Mollicutes bacteria
Accepted manuscript version.
Thibodeau, Patricia S.; Song, Bongkeun; Moreno, Carly M.; and Steinberg, Deborah K., The feeding ecology and microbiome of the pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica (2022). Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 88(19), 24.