Microbiomes and Obligate Symbiosis of Deep-Sea Animals

Eslam O. Osman, Alexis M. Weinnig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Microbial communities associated with deep-sea animals are critical to the establishment of novel biological communities in unusual environments. Over the past few decades, rapid exploration of the deep sea has enabled the discovery of novel microbial communities, some of which form symbiotic relationships with animal hosts. Symbiosis in the deep sea changes host physiology, behavior, ecology, and evolution over time and space. Symbiont diversity within a host is often aligned with diverse metabolic pathways that broaden the environmental niche for the animal host. In this review, we focus on microbiomes and obligate symbionts found in different deep-sea habitats and how they facilitate survival of the organisms that live in these environments. In addition, we discuss factors that govern microbiome diversity, host specificity, and biogeography in the deep sea. Finally, we highlight the current limitations of microbiome research and draw a road map for future directions to advance our knowledge of microbiomes in the deep sea. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences, Volume 10 is February 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnual Review of Animal Biosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 29 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-01-27
Acknowledgements: This review was made possible by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative awarded to Iliana B. Baums and Charles R. Fisher (ECOGIG publ. no. 572). The authors would like to thank Dr. Charles R. Fisher, Dr. Iliana B. Baums, and Dr. Erik E. Cordes for their contribution and insightful comments to improve the manuscript. Also, we would like to thank Dr. Manuel Kleiner for his approval to adopt his graphical illustration and Mrs. Hend R. Nawwar for creating the graphical illustrations using Integration and Application Network symbols (ian.umces.edu/media-library).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • General Veterinary


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