Shift and homogenization of gut microbiome during invasion in marine fishes

Arthur Escalas, Jean Christophe Auguet, Amandine Avouac, Jonathan Belmaker, Thanos Dailianis, Moshe Kiflawi, Renanel Pickholtz, Grigorios Skouradakis, Sébastien Villéger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Biological invasion is one of the main components of global changes in aquatic ecosystems. Unraveling how establishment in novel environments affects key biological features of animals is a key step towards understanding invasion. Gut microbiome of herbivorous animals is important for host health but has been scarcely assessed in invasive species. Here, we characterized the gut microbiome of two invasive marine herbivorous fishes (Siganus rivulatus and Siganus luridus) in their native (Red Sea) and invaded (Mediterranean Sea) ranges. The taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of the microbiome increased as the fishes move away from the native range and its structure became increasingly different from the native microbiome. These shifts resulted in homogenization of the microbiome in the invaded range, within and between the two species. The shift in microbial diversity was associated with changes in its functions related with the metabolism of short-chain fatty acids. Altogether, our results suggest that the environmental conditions encountered by Siganidae during their expansion in Mediterranean ecosystems strongly modifies the composition of their gut microbiome along with its putative functions. Further studies should pursue to identify the precise determinants of these modifications (e.g. changes in host diet or behavior, genetic differentiation) and whether they participate in the ecological success of these species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalAnimal Microbiome
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Gut bacteria
  • Herbivorous fish
  • Homogenization
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Non-native species
  • Siganus


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