Characterization and Comparison of the Microbiome of African Carnivores

Will Rogers, Department of Ecology, Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT, 59717 USA; Seth Walk, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, 109 Lewis Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 59717, USA; Scott Creel, Department of Ecology, Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT, 59717 USA; Matt Becker, Department of Ecology, 310 Lewis Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA / Zambian Carnivore Programme, P.O. Box 90, Mfuwe, Eastern Province, Zambia

Many of the microbes living within a host’s gastrointestinal tract (the microbiome) and the host share a symbiotic relationship – the host provides microbes with nutrients and microbes assist the host with digestion and immune function. However, the role of the microbiome with regard to its effect on the fitness of a host and the effect of host traits (diet, phylogeny, geographic location, social organization, spatial distribution, etc.) on the microbiome are largely un-studied under natural conditions in wild populations. We characterized and compared gut microbiomes of several species of African predators in several ecosystems to better understand how host niche breadth was reflected in gut microbial diversity and structure. To do this, we collected fecal samples from African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and African lions (Panthera leo) in three national parks (Kafue, South Luangwa, and Liuwa Plain National Parks) in Zambia in 2018 and 2019. Initial sequencing efforts of 16S ribosomal RNA present in fecal material established that individual host species were visually distinguishable using a principal components graphical analysis. Further, alpha diversity of fecal microbiota was strongly predicted by host species (GLMM χ2(3)= 10.75, p-value= 0.01316). With further sequencing and analysis, we expect to find a strong relationship between host niche and fecal microbial community diversity. We will present the results of current sequencing and modeling efforts along with our conclusions regarding the role of host niche in influencing microbiome diversity and structure.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Will Rogers

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Oral

Subject: Microbiology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 331
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