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Multiscale Spatial Variability and Stability in the Structure and Diversity of Bacterial Communities Associated with the Kelp Eisenia cokeri in Peru

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Pip MooreORCiD, Hannah Earp, Dr Adam Gouraguine



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Ecological communities are structured by a range of processes that operate over a range of spatial scales. While our understanding of such biodiversity patterns in macro-communities is well studied, our understanding at the microbial level is still lacking. Bacteria can be free living or associated with host eukaryotes, forming part of a wider “microbiome,” which is fundamental for host performance and health. For habitat forming foundation-species, host-bacteria relationships likely play disproportionate roles in mediating processes for the wider ecosystem. Here, we describe host-bacteria communities across multiple spatial scales (i.e., from 10s of m to 100s of km) in the understudied kelp, Eisenia cokeri, in Peru. We found that E. cokeri supports a distinct bacterial community compared to the surrounding seawater, but the structure of these communities varied markedly at the regional (~480 km), site (1–10 km), and individual (10s of m) scale. The marked regional-scale differences we observed may be driven by a range of processes, including temperature, upwelling intensity, or regional connectivity patterns. However, despite this variability, we observed consistency in the form of a persistent core community at the genus level. Here, the genera Arenicella, Blastopirellula, Granulosicoccus, and Litorimonas were found in >80% of samples and comprised ~53% of total sample abundance. These genera have been documented within bacterial communities associated with kelps and other seaweed species from around the world and may be important for host function and wider ecosystem health in general.

Publication metadata

Author(s): King NG, Uribe R, Moore PJ, Earp HS, Gouraguine A, Hinostroza D, Perez-Matus A, Smith K, Smale DA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microbial Ecology

Year: 2023

Volume: 86

Pages: 2574–2582

Online publication date: 07/07/2023

Acceptance date: 29/06/2023

Date deposited: 04/08/2023

ISSN (print): 0095-3628

ISSN (electronic): 1432-184X

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s00248-023-02262-2

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/vp9s-f874


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Funder referenceFunder name
NERC grant
UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship