Table_2.XLSX

<p>Terrestrial plants benefit from many well-understood mutualistic relationships with root- and leaf-associated microbiomes, but relatively little is known about these relationships for seagrass and other aquatic plants. We used 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and metatranscriptomics to assess potential mutualisms between microorganisms and the seagrasses Zostera marina and Zostera japonica collected from mixed beds in Netarts Bay, OR, United States. The phylogenetic composition of leaf-, root-, and water column-associated bacterial communities were strikingly different, but these communities were not significantly different between plant species. Many taxa present on leaves were related to organisms capable of consuming the common plant metabolic waste product methanol, and of producing agarases, which can limit the growth of epiphytic algae. Taxa present on roots were related to organisms capable of oxidizing toxic sulfur compounds and of fixing nitrogen. Metatranscriptomic sequencing identified expression of genes involved in all of these microbial metabolic processes at levels greater than typical water column bacterioplankton, and also identified expression of genes involved in denitrification and in bacterial synthesis of the plant growth hormone indole-3-acetate. These results provide the first evidence using metatranscriptomics that seagrass microbiomes carry out a broad range of functions that may benefit their hosts, and imply that microbe–plant mutualisms support the health and growth of aquatic plants.</p>