Table_5_Distinct Endophytic Bacterial Communities Inhabiting Seagrass Seeds.DOCX
Seagrasses are marine angiosperms that can live completely or partially submerged in water and perform a variety of significant ecosystem services. Like terrestrial angiosperms, seagrasses can reproduce sexually and, the pollinated female flower develop into fruits and seeds, which represent a critical stage in the life of plants. Seed microbiomes include endophytic microorganisms that in terrestrial plants can affect seed germination and seedling health through phytohormone production, enhanced nutrient availability and defence against pathogens. However, the characteristics and origins of the seagrass seed microbiomes is unknown. Here, we examined the endophytic bacterial community of six microenvironments (flowers, fruits, and seeds, together with leaves, roots, and rhizospheric sediment) of the seagrass Halophila ovalis collected from the Swan Estuary, in southwestern Australia. An amplicon sequencing approach (16S rRNA) was used to characterize the diversity and composition of H. ovalis bacterial microbiomes and identify core microbiome bacteria that were conserved across microenvironments. Distinct communities of bacteria were observed within specific seagrass microenvironments, including the reproductive tissues (flowers, fruits, and seeds). In particular, bacteria previously associated with plant growth promoting characteristics were mainly found within reproductive tissues. Seagrass seed-borne bacteria that exhibit growth promoting traits, the ability to fix nitrogen and anti-pathogenic potential activity, may play a pivotal role in seed survival, as is common for terrestrial plants. We present the endophytic community of the seagrass seeds as foundation for the identification of potential beneficial bacteria and their selection in order to improve seagrass restoration.