Microbiome acquisition during larval settlement of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides

Nick Aldred, Andrew Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Barnacles are conspicuous members of rocky intertidal communities and settlement of the final larval stage, the cyprid, is influenced by the presence of biofilms. While modulation of cyprid settlement by biofilms has been studied extensively, the acquisition of a specific microbiome by the settling larva has not. This study investigated settlement in the field of Semibalanus balanoides in two consecutive years when the composition of the benthic bacterial community differed. In both years, settling cyprids adopted a specific sub-set of benthic bacteria that was distinct from the planktonic cyprid and the benthos. This microbiome was consistent, regardless of annual variability in the benthic community structure, and established within hours of settlement. The results imply that a natural process of selection occurs during the critical final transition of S. balanoides to the sessile form. The apparent consistency of this process between years suggests that optimal growth and survival of barnacles could depend upon a complex inter-kingdom relationship, as has been demonstrated in other animal systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20180763
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number6
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019


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