[MARMAM] New Publication: High-throughput sequencing data provides insight into killer whale skin microbiome

Andy Foote footead at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 01:32:15 PDT 2018

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our study of variation in the killer whale
skin microbiome published in a forthcoming special issue of Molecular
Ecology on Species Interactions, Ecological Networks and Community
Dynamics is now available online and can be freely viewed via this
link: rdcu.be/91W7.

Recent exploration into the interactions and relationship between
hosts and their microbiota has revealed a connection between many
aspects of the host's biology, health and associated micro‐organisms.
Whereas amplicon sequencing has traditionally been used to
characterize the microbiome, the increasing number of published
population genomics data sets offers an underexploited opportunity to
study microbial profiles from the host shotgun sequencing data. Here,
we use sequence data originally generated from killer whale (Orcinus
orca) skin biopsies for population genomics, to characterize the skin
microbiome and investigate how host social and geographical factors
influence the microbial community composition. Having identified 845
microbial taxa from 2.4 million reads that did not map to the killer
whale reference genome, we found that both ecotypic and geographical
factors influence community composition of killer whale skin
microbiomes. Furthermore, we uncovered key taxa that drive the
microbiome community composition and showed that they are embedded in
unique networks, one of which is tentatively linked to diatom presence
and poor skin condition. Community composition differed between
Antarctic killer whales with and without diatom coverage, suggesting
that the previously reported episodic migrations of Antarctic killer
whales to warmer waters associated with skin turnover may control the
effects of potentially pathogenic bacteriasuch as Tenacibaculum
dicentrarchi. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of microbiome
studies from host shotgun sequencing data and highlights the
importance of metagenomics in understanding the relationship between
host and microbial ecology.

Sent on behalf of Beki, Jaelle, Katja and all coauthors,


Dr Andrew Foote
Molecular Ecology Fisheries Genetics Lab,
School of Biological Sciences,
Bangor University,
Bangor, Wales

More information about the MARMAM mailing list