Entangled fates of holobiont genomes during invasion: nested bacterial and host diversities in Caulerpa taxifolia

S. Arnaud-Haond, T. Aires, R. Candeias, S. J. L Teixeira, Carlos M. Duarte, M. Valero, E. A. Serrão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Successful prevention and mitigation of biological invasions requires retracing the initial steps of introduction, as well as understanding key elements enhancing the adaptability of invasive species. We studied the genetic diversity of the green alga Caulerpa taxifolia and its associated bacterial communities in several areas around the world. The striking congruence of α and ß diversity of the algal genome and endophytic communities reveals a tight association, supporting the holobiont concept as best describing the unit of spreading and invasion. Both genomic compartments support the hypotheses of a unique accidental introduction in the Mediterranean and of multiple invasion events in Southern Australia. In addition to helping with tracing the origin of invasion, bacterial communities exhibit metabolic functions that can potentially enhance adaptability and competitiveness of the consortium they form with their host. We thus hypothesize that low genetic diversities of both host and symbiont communities may contribute to the recent regression in the Mediterranean, in contrast with the persistence of highly diverse assemblages in southern Australia. This study supports the importance of scaling up from the host to the holobiont for a comprehensive understanding of invasions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2379-2391
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 20 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank the diving team from the Villefranche marine station, particularly David Luquet, for the collection of samples from Villefranche and Habib Langar for those from Tunis, as well as Gary Kendricks, Nicholas Paul, Scott Seymour, Dean Jerry, Kor van Dijk, Michèle Waycott and Martin Billingham for help in collecting the Australian samples. This work was supported by the project IBISA (PTDC / MAR / 64749 / 2006) funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and FEDER and by a PhD fellowship (TA) from FCT and FSE, and by the French ANR project CLONIX (ANR-11-BSV7-0007).


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