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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol: 77, No: 2, 2011, Pages: 642-649

Phylogeographical Patterns among Mediterranean Sepiolid Squids and Their Vibrio Symbionts: Environment Drives Specificity among Sympatric Species ,+

D. J. Zamborsky and M. K. Nishiguchi*

New Mexico State University, Department of Biology, MSC 3AF, Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001.


Bobtail squid from the genera Sepiola and Rondeletiola (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) form mutualistic associations with luminous Gram-negative bacteria (Gammaproteobacteria: Vibrionaceae) from the genera Vibrio and Photobacterium. Symbiotic bacteria proliferate inside a bilobed light organ until they are actively expelled by the host into the surrounding environment on a diel basis. This event results in a dynamic symbiont population with the potential to establish the symbiosis with newly hatched sterile (axenic) juvenile sepiolids. In this study, we examined the genetic diversity found in populations of sympatric sepiolid squid species and their symbionts by the use of nested clade analysis with multiple gene analyses. Variation found in the distribution of different species of symbiotic bacteria suggests a strong influence of abiotic factors in the local environment, affecting bacterial distribution among sympatric populations of hosts. These abiotic factors include temperature differences incurred by a shallow thermocline, as well as a lack of strong coastal water movement accompanied by seasonal temperature changes in overlapping niches. Host populations are stable and do not appear to have a significant role in the formation of symbiont populations relative to their distribution across the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, all squid species examined (Sepiola affinis, S. robusta, S. ligulata, S. intermedia, and Rondeletiola minor) are genetically distinct from one another regardless of location and demonstrate very little intraspecific variation within species. These findings suggest that physical boundaries and distance in relation to population size, and not host specificity, are important factors in limiting or defining gene flow within sympatric marine squids and their associated bacterial symbionts in the Mediterranean Sea.

Keywords:Gammaproteobacteria;Vibrionaceae;Vibrio;Photobacterium;Sepiola affinis; S. robusta;S. ligulata; S. intermedia; Rondeletiola minor;plant growth.

Corresponding author: Tel (575) 646-3721, Fax (575) 646-5665.

E-mail: nish@nmsu.edu


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