Bouchon, Didier, Zimmer, Martin ORCID: and Dittmer, Jessica (2016) The Terrestrial Isopod Microbiome: An All-in-One Toolbox for Animal–Microbe Interactions of Ecological Relevance. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7 . p. 1472. DOI

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Bacterial symbionts represent essential drivers of arthropod ecology and evolution, influencing host traits such as nutrition, reproduction, immunity, and speciation. However, the majority of work on arthropod microbiota has been conducted in insects and more studies in non-model species across different ecological niches will be needed to complete our understanding of host–microbiota interactions. In this review, we present terrestrial isopod crustaceans as an emerging model organism to investigate symbiotic associations with potential relevance to ecosystem functioning. Terrestrial isopods comprise a group of crustaceans that have evolved a terrestrial lifestyle and represent keystone species in terrestrial ecosystems, contributing to the decomposition of organic matter and regulating the microbial food web. Since their nutrition is based on plant detritus, it has long been suspected that bacterial symbionts located in the digestive tissues might play an important role in host nutrition via the provisioning of digestive enzymes, thereby enabling the utilization of recalcitrant food compounds (e.g., cellulose or lignins). If this were the case, then (i) the acquisition of these bacteria might have been an important evolutionary prerequisite for the colonization of land by isopods, and (ii) these bacterial symbionts would directly mediate the role of their hosts in ecosystem functioning. Several bacterial symbionts have indeed been discovered in the midgut caeca of terrestrial isopods and some of them might be specific to this group of animals (i.e., Candidatus Hepatoplasma crinochetorum, Candidatus Hepatincola porcellionum, and Rhabdochlamydia porcellionis), while others are well-known intracellular pathogens (Rickettsiella spp.) or reproductive parasites (Wolbachia sp.). Moreover, a recent investigation of the microbiota in Armadillidium vulgare has revealed that this species harbors a highly diverse bacterial community which varies between host populations, suggesting an important share of environmental microbes in the host-associated microbiota. In this review, we synthesize our current knowledge on the terrestrial isopod microbiome and identify future directions to (i) fully understand the functional roles of particular bacteria (both intracellular or intestinal symbionts and environmental gut passengers), and (ii) whether and how the host-associated microbiota could influence the performance of terrestrial isopods as keystone species in soil ecosystems.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 1664-302X
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 16:13
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:28

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