Bacterial microbiota similarity between predators and prey in a blue tit trophic network.

Affiliation

Dion-Phénix H(1), Charmantier A(2), de Franceschi C(2), Bourret G(3), Kembel SW(3), Réale D(3).
Author information:
(1)Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada. [Email]
(2)CEFE, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Univ Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Montpellier, France.
(3)Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Abstract

Trophic networks are composed of many organisms hosting microbiota that interact with their hosts and with each other. Yet, our knowledge of the factors driving variation in microbiota and their interactions in wild communities is limited. To investigate the relation among host microbiota across a trophic network, we studied the bacterial microbiota of two species of primary producers (downy and holm oaks), a primary consumer (caterpillars), and a secondary consumer (blue tits) at nine sites in Corsica. To quantify bacterial microbiota, we amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences in blue tit feces, caterpillars, and leaf samples. Our results showed that hosts from adjacent trophic levels had a more similar bacterial microbiota than hosts separated by two trophic levels. Our results also revealed a difference between bacterial microbiota present on the two oak species, and among leaves from different sites. The main drivers of bacterial microbiota variation within each trophic level differed across spatial scales, and sharing the same tree or nest box increased similarity in bacterial microbiota for caterpillars and blue tits. This study quantifies host microbiota interactions across a three-level trophic network and illustrates how the factors shaping bacterial microbiota composition vary among different hosts.