The role of microbiome and genotype in Daphnia magna upon parasite re-exposure

Lore Bulteel (Corresponding author), Shira Houwenhuyse, S.A.J. Declerck, Ellen Decaestecker

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, it has been shown that the community of gut microorganisms plays a crucial role in host performance with respect to parasite tolerance. Knowledge, however, is lacking on the role of the gut microbiome in mediating host tolerance after parasite re-exposure, especially considering multiple parasite infections. We here aimed to fill this knowledge gap by studying the role of the gut microbiome on tolerance in Daphnia magna upon multiple parasite species re-exposure. Additionally, we investigated the role of the host genotype in the interaction between the gut microbiome and the host phenotypic performance. A microbiome transplant experiment was performed in which three germ-free D. magna genotypes were exposed to a gut microbial inoculum and a parasite community treatment. The gut microbiome inocula were pre-exposed to the same parasite communities or a control treatment. Daphnia performance was monitored, and amplicon sequencing was performed to characterize the gut microbial community. Our experimental results showed that the gut microbiome plays no role in Daphnia tolerance upon parasite re-exposure. We did, however, find a main effect of the gut microbiome on Daphnia body size reflecting parasite specific responses. Our results also showed that it is rather the Daphnia genotype, and not the gut microbiome, that affected parasite-induced host mortality. Additionally, we found a role of the genotype in structuring the gut microbial community, both in alpha diversity as in the microbial composition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jan 2021


  • international
  • Plan_S-Compliant_OA
  • Daphnia magna
  • diversity
  • dysbiosis
  • genotype
  • gut microbiome
  • parasite re-exposure
  • tolerance

Research theme

  • Disease ecology
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • Microbiomes


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