Temporal dynamics of freshwater planktonic parasites inferred using a DNA metabarcoding time-series

Kingsly C. Beng, Justyna Wolinska, Elisabeth Funke, Silke Van Den Wyngaert, Alena S. Gsell, Michael T. Monaghan

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Abstract

Parasites are important components of biodiversity and contributors to ecosystem functioning, but are often neglected in ecological studies. Most studies examine model parasite systems or single taxa, thus our understanding of community composition is lacking. Here, the seasonal and annual dynamics of parasites was quantified using a 5-year metabarcoding time-series of freshwater plankton, collected weekly. We first identified parasites in the data set using literature searches of the taxonomic match and using sequence metadata from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) nucleotide database. In total, 441 Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs, belonging to 18 phyla/clades) were classified as parasites. The four phyla/clades with highest relative read abundance and richness were Chytridiomycota, Dinoflagellata, Oomycota, and Perkinsozoa. Relative read abundance of total parasite taxa, Dinoflagellata, and Perkinsozoa significantly varied with season and was highest in summer. Parasite richness varied significantly with season and year, and was generally lowest in spring. Each season had distinct parasite communities, and the difference between summer and winter communities was most pronounced. Combining DNA metabarcoding with searches of the literature and NCBI metadata allowed us to characterize parasite diversity and community dynamics and revealed the extent to which parasites contribute to the diversity of freshwater plankton communities.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
JournalParasitology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • 18S rRNA gene
  • Aquatic food web
  • Genbank
  • long-Term monitoring
  • Metabarcoding
  • Möggelsee
  • Planktonic parasites
  • international
  • Plan_S-Compliant-TA

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