The effects of environment and ontogeny on the skin microbiome of two Stegastes damselfishes (Pomacentridae) from the eastern Caribbean Sea

02 July 2020

Damselfishes of the genus Stegastes are some of the most abundant fish inhabiting shallow reef habitats. Although Stegastes play an important role in promoting primary production in reef ecosystems, their territories are known to favor the occurrence of bacterial pathogens. However, no studies so far have examined the microbiome composition of Caribbean Stegastes species. Here, we characterized the skin bacterial microbiome of juveniles and adults of Stegastes leucostictus and Stegastes adustus collected from La Parguera, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Our results showed that bacterial communities residing on the skin of Stegastes were related to taxonomy, environment and ontogeny. These results are in line with previous knowledge on the dynamics of fish skin microbiomes