Amazon fish bacterial communities show structural convergence along widespread hydrochemical gradients Academic Article uri icon


  • The world's richest freshwater fish community thrives in gradients of contrasting environments in Amazonia, ranging from ion-poor acidic black waters, to ion-rich circumneutral white waters. These hydrochemical gradients structure Amazonian fish assemblages via ecological speciation events. Fish bacterial communities contain an important genetic heritage essential for their hosts' survival and are also involved in adaptive divergence via niche adaptation processes, but the extent to which they evolve in response to hydrochemical gradients in Amazonia is unknown. Here we investigated bacterial communities (gut and skin mucus) of two ecologically and phylogenetically divergent host species (Mesonauta festivus and Serrasalmus rhombeus) distributed throughout these hydrochemical gradients. The goal was to characterize intra- and interspecific Amazonian fish microbiome variations across multiple scales. Using a 16S metabarcoding approach, we investigated the microbiota of 43 wild M. festivus, 32 S. rhombeus and seven water samples, collected at seven sampling sites encompassing both water colours. Taxonomical structures of bacterial communities from both host species were significantly correlated to the environmental continua of magnesium, sodium, dissolved organic carbon, calcium, dissolved O2 , pH, potassium, hardness and chloride. Analysis of discriminating features in community structures across multiple scales demonstrated intra- and interspecific structural parallelisms in the response to the hydrochemical gradients. Together, these parallelisms suggest the action of selection on bacterial community structures along Amazonian hydrochemical gradients. Functional approaches along with reciprocal transplant experiments will provide further insights on the potential contribution of Amazonian fish microbiomes in host adaptation and ecological speciation events.


  • Sylvain, François‐Étienne
  • Holland, Aleicia
  • Audet‐Gilbert, Émie
  • Luis Val, Adalberto
  • Derome, Nicolas

publication date

  • 2019