Location: Crop Bioprotection ResearchTitle: Microbial communities of container aquatic habitats shift in response to Culex restuans larvae
Submitted to: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2020
Publication Date: 6/12/2020
Citation: Muturi, E.J., Dunlap, C., Caceres, C.E. 2020. Microbial communities of container aquatic habitats shift in response to Culex restuans larvae. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiaa112.
Interpretive Summary: Bacterial communities that colonize the decaying organic matter in container aquatic habitats such as tree holes, stormwater catch basins and discarded automobile tires, serve as a critical food resource for mosquito larvae. However, little is known regarding how these bacterial communities respond to grazing pressure from mosquito larvae. This study examined how mosquito larvae influence the composition and diversity of bacterial communities in container aquatic habitats. Results show that grazing by mosquito larvae alters the composition and reduces the diversity of bacterial communities in container aquatic habitats. Shifts in bacterial communities in the presence of mosquito larvae may lower the nutritional quality of container aquatic habitats and disrupt the decomposition process. The bacterial taxa that decreased in response to the presence of mosquito larvae are likely those that are consumed by mosquito larvae and should be investigated further for potential application in mosquito control.
Technical Abstract: Microbial communities associated with plant detritus serve not only as decomposers, but also as a critical food resource for mosquito larvae and other invertebrate consumers. Yet, the effect of invertebrate consumers on detritus-colonizing microbial communities remains poorly understood. We used experimental microcosms to examine how larvae of the white-dotted mosquito, Culex restuans influences the bacterial composition and diversity in container aquatic habitats. The bacterial microbiota of Cx. restuans larvae were also characterized and compared to those of their larval habitats. The presence of Cx. restuans larvae altered the bacterial community composition and reduced the bacterial diversity and richness. Some bacterial taxa including Azohydromonas sp., Delftia sp., Pseudomonas sp., Zooglea sp., unclassified Enterobacteriaceae (Gammaproteobacteria), and unclassified Bacteroidales (Bacteroidetes) responded negatively to the presence of Cx. restuans larvae while others including Prosthecobacter sp., Hydrogenaphaga sp., Clostridium sp., unclassified Clostridiaceae, and Chryseobacterium sp. responded positively. Cx. restuans larvae harbored distinct and less diverse bacterial community compared to their larval habitats. These findings suggest that mosquito larvae play a key role in structuring the microbial communities in container aquatic habitats. Shifts in microbial communities in response to mosquito larvae may lower the nutritional quality of container aquatic habitats and alter the decomposition process and food web dynamics in these aquatic systems. These findings provide new opportunities for more focused studies to identify not only the specific bacterial taxa that serve as food for mosquito larvae but also those that could be harnessed for disease control.