Beetle and Nematode Microbiome

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In contrast to pathogenic nematodes, microbial symbionts in necromenic nematode-insect associations have not been investigated systematically. Based on our previous work on nematode chemosensory behavior in the model Pristionchus pacificus, we speculate that their preferred beetle hosts have microbiomes distinct from other potential hosts found in the same location. As a first step in exploring the symbiotic interactions between nematodes, beetle hosts, and their bacterial microbiome, we conducted a long-term five-year sampling (2010-2014) of scarab beetles in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Our study revealed that most necromenic nematode species have a strong beetle preference profile in Los Angeles, and that beetle species rather than location drives major differences in bacterial community composition (Koneru et al, Molecular Ecology, 2016). However, the nematode microbiome derived from are similar to each other, regardless of nematode species, and irrespective of their beetle provenance. These results compel us to also look into other stages of the beetle life cycle in the soil: namely the microbiome of beetle grubs and the decomposition profile of beetle carcasses.

Collaborators:

Dr. Gilberto Flores of CSUN (http://gilbertoflores.weebly.com/index.html)

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