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Skin bacterial community reorganization following metamorphosis of the fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalis)

Bataille A., Lee-Cruz L., Tripathi B., Waldman B.. 2018. Microbial Ecology, 75 (2) : p. 505-514.

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-017-1034-7

In organisms with complex life histories, dramatic changes in microbial community structure may occur with host development and immune system maturation. Amphibian host susceptibility to diseases such as chytridiomycosis may be affected by the reorganization of skin microbial community structure that occurs during metamorphosis. We tracked changes in the bacterial communities inhabiting skin of Korean fire-bellied toads (Bombina orientalis) that we infected as tadpoles with different strains of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the pathogenic fungus that causes chytridiomycosis. We found that B. orientalis undergoes a major change in skin bacterial community composition between 5 and 15 days following metamorphosis. Richness indices and phylogenetic diversity measures began to diverge earlier, between aquatic and terrestrial stages. Our results further reveal differences in skin bacterial community composition among infection groups, suggesting that the effect of Bd infection on skin microbiome composition may differ by Bd strain. Additional studies are needed to further investigate the structural and temporal dynamics of microbiome shifts during metamorphosis in wild and captive amphibian populations. Analyses of the ontogeny of microbiome shifts may contribute to an understanding of why amphibians vary in their susceptibility to chytridiomycosis.

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