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Identification and modes of action of endogenous bacteria in taphonomy of embryos and larvae

Justin L. Eagan, Mary E. Andrews, Ronald L. Pearson, F. Rudolf Turner, Elizabeth C. Raff and Rudolf A. Raff
Identification and modes of action of endogenous bacteria in taphonomy of embryos and larvae
Palaios (April 2017) 32 (4): 206-217

Abstract

We use experimental taphonomy of embryos and larvae to determine the mechanisms by which endogenous bacteria stabilize rather than destroy soft tissues. Here, we show that bacteria can rapidly move from one dead organism to another through the surrounding medium-donor and recipient tissue need not be touching. In most cases tissue destruction results, but in some cases the bacteria generate stabilizing biofilms on recipient tissue that preserve its shape. We isolated, cultured, and identified phylogenetically diverse bacterial strains from the endogenous microbiotas of brine shrimp larvae (Artemia sinica) and sea urchin embryos (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) that had been killed anaerobically and then incubated aerobically to allow proliferation of endogenous bacteria in the dead tissue. We found that one Artemia-derived isolate, Marinobacter sp., is a potent generator of stabilizing biofilms and that other isolates can participate in biofilm formation or cause destruction. These results show the relative frequency of stabilizing bacteria in the endogenous microbiotas of newly dead organisms. Their ease of transmission reveals the potential for generation of a shared microbiology among groups of dead organisms, a possible contributor to uniform preservation in fossil assemblages such as Neoproterozoic and Cambrian fossil embryos.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 32
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Identification and modes of action of endogenous bacteria in taphonomy of embryos and larvae
Affiliation: Indiana University at Bloomington, Department of Biology, Bloomington, IN, United States
Pages: 206-217
Published: 201704
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 49
Accession Number: 2017-035019
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201720
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