The mechanism of bacterial speciation remains a topic of tremendous interest. To understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms of speciation in Vibrio bacteria, we analyzed the genomic dissimilarities between three closely related species in the so-called Harveyi clade of the genus Vibrio, V. campbellii, V. jasicida, and V. hyugaensis The analysis focused on strains isolated from diverse geographic locations over a long period of time. The results of phylogenetic analyses and calculations of average nucleotide identity (ANI) supported the classification of V. jasicida and V. hyugaensis into two species. These analyses also identified two well-supported clades in V. campbellii; however, strains from both clades were classified as members of the same species. Comparative analyses of the complete genome sequences of representative strains from the three species identified higher syntenic coverage between genomes of V. jasicida and V. hyugaensis than that between the genomes from the two V. campbellii clades. The results from comparative analyses of gene content between bacteria from the three species did not support the hypothesis that gene gain and/or loss contributed to their speciation. We also did not find support for the hypothesis that ecological diversification toward associations with marine animals contributed to the speciation of V. jasicida and V. hyugaensis Overall, based on the results obtained in this study, we propose that speciation in Harveyi clade species is a result of stochastic diversification of local populations, which was influenced by multiple evolutionary processes, followed by extinction events.IMPORTANCE To investigate the mechanisms underlying speciation in the genus Vibrio, we provided a well-assembled reference of genomes and performed systematic genomic comparisons among three evolutionarily closely related species. We resolved taxonomic ambiguities and identified genomic features separating the three species. Based on the study results, we propose a hypothesis explaining how species in the Harveyi clade of Vibrio bacteria diversified. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.
Journal: Journal of bacteriology