Characterisation of the Bacteria and Archaea Community Associated with Wild Oysters, At Three Possible Restoration Sites in the North Sea

Natacha M. S. Juste-Poinapen*, Yang Lu, Blanca Bolaños De Hoyos, George C. Birch, Camille Saurel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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With 85% of the global oyster reefs destroyed, there is an urgent need for large scale restoration to benefit from the ecosystem services provided by biogenic oyster reefs and their associated biodiversity, including microorganisms that drive marine biogeochemical cycles. This experiment established a baseline for the monitoring of the bacterial and archaeal community associated with wild oysters, using samples from their immediate environment of the Voordelta, with cohabiting Crassostrea gigas and Ostrea edulis, Duikplaats with only C. gigas attached to rocks, and the Dansk Skaldyrcentre, with no onsite oysters. The microbial profiling was carried out through DNA analysis of samples collected from the surfaces of oyster shells and their substrate, the sediment and seawater. Following 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and bioinformatics, alpha indices implied high species abundance and diversity in sediment but low abundance in seawater. As expected, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Thaumarchaeota dominated the top 20 OTUs. In the Voordelta, OTUs related to Colwellia, Shewanella and Psychrobium differentiated the oysters collected from a reef with those attached to rocks. Duikplaats were distinct for sulfur-oxidizers Sulfurimonas and sulfate-reducers from the Sva 0081 sediment group. Archaea were found mainly in sediments and the oyster associated microbiome, with greater abundance at the reef site, consisting mostly of Thaumarchaeota from the family Nitrosopumilaceae. The oyster free site displayed archaea in sediments only, and algal bloom indicator microorganisms from the Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae family and genus [Polaribacter] huanghezhanensis, in addition to the ascidian symbiotic partner, Synechococcus. This study suggests site specific microbiome shifts, influenced by the presence of oysters and the type of substrate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Journal of Marine Science
Pages (from-to)19-40
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Oyster reefs
  • Microbiome
  • Marine bacteria
  • Marine archaea
  • Restoration


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