Bacteria of the genus Vibrio occur at a continuum from free-living to symbiotic life forms, including opportunists and pathogens, that can contribute to severe diseases, for instance summer mortality events of Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas. While most studies focused on Vibrio isolated from moribund oysters during mortality outbreaks, investigations of the Vibrio community in healthy oysters are rare. Therefore, we characterized the persistence, diversity, seasonal dynamics, and pathogenicity of the Vibrio community isolated from healthy Pacific oysters. In a reciprocal transplant experiment we repeatedly sampled hemolymph from adult Pacific oysters to differentiate population from site-specific effects during six months of in situ incubation in the field. We characterized virulence phenotypes and genomic diversity based on multilocus sequence typing in a total of 70 Vibrio strains. Based on controlled infection experiments we could show that strains with the ability to colonize healthy adult oysters can also have the potential to induce high mortality rates on larvae. Diversity and abundance of Vibrio varied significantly over time with highest values during and after spawning season. Vibrio communities from transplanted and stationary oysters converged over time, indicating that communities were not population specific, but rather assemble from the surrounding environment forming communities, some of which can persist over longer periods. © 2014 Wendling et al.
Wendling, C. C., Batista, F. M., & Wegner, K. M. (2014). Persistence, seasonal dynamics and pathogenic potential of vibrio communities from pacific oyster hemolymph. PLoS ONE, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094256