Prevalent Ciliate Symbiosis on Copepods: High Genetic Diversity and Wide Distribution Detected Using Small Subunit Ribosomal RNA Gene
- 海洋环境－已发表论文 
Toward understanding the genetic diversity and distribution of copepod-associated symbiotic ciliates and the evolutionary relationships with their hosts in the marine environment, we developed a small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA)based molecular method and investigated the genetic diversity and genotype distribution of the symbiotic ciliates on copepods. Of the 10 copepod species representing six families collected from six locations of Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, 9 were found to harbor ciliate symbionts. Phylogenetic analysis of the 391 ciliate 18S rDNA sequences obtained revealed seven groups (ribogroups), six (containing 99% of all the sequences) belonging to subclass Apostomatida, the other clustered with peritrich ciliate Vorticella gracilis. Among the Apostomatida groups, Group III were essentially identical to Vampyrophrya pelagica, and the other five groups represented the undocumented ciliates that were close to Vampyrophrya/Gymnodinioides/Hyalophysa. Group VI ciliates were found in all copepod species but one (Calanus sinicus), and were most abundant among all ciliate sequences obtained, indicating that they are the dominant symbiotic ciliates universally associated with copepods. In contrast, some ciliate sequences were found only in some of the copepods examined, suggesting the host selectivity and geographic differentiation of ciliates, which requires further verification by more extensive sampling. Our results reveal the wide occurrence and high genetic diversity of symbiotic ciliates on marine copepods and highlight the need to systematically investigate the host- and geography-based genetic differentiation and ecological roles of these ciliates globally.