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Am J Primatol. 2016 Aug;78(8):883-92. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22555. Epub 2016 May 13.

Host age, social group, and habitat type influence the gut microbiota of wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta).

Author information

1
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado.
2
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado.
3
Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado.
4
Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota.
5
C.R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois.
6
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois.
7
J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, Maryland.
8
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois.
9
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, California.
10
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, California.
11
Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Abstract

The gut microbiota contributes to host health by maintaining homeostasis, increasing digestive efficiency, and facilitating the development of the immune system. The composition of the gut microbiota can change dramatically within and between individuals of a species as a result of diet, age, or habitat. Therefore, understanding the factors determining gut microbiota diversity and composition can contribute to our knowledge of host ecology as well as to conservation efforts. Here we use high-throughput sequencing to describe variation in the gut microbiota of the endangered ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR) in southwestern Madagascar. Specifically, we measured the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota in relation to social group, age, sex, tooth wear and loss, and habitat disturbance. While we found no significant variation in the diversity of the ring-tailed lemur gut microbiota in response to any variable tested, the taxonomic composition of the gut microbiota was influenced by social group, age, and habitat disturbance. However, effect sizes were small and appear to be driven by the presence or absence of relatively low abundance taxa. These results suggest that habitat disturbance may not impact the lemur gut microbiota as strongly as it impacts the gut microbiota of other primate species, highlighting the importance of distinct host ecological and physiological factors on host-gut microbe relationships. Am. J. Primatol. 78:883-892, 2016.

KEYWORDS:

Bezà Mahafaly; age; disturbance; gut microbiota; lemur

PMID:
27177345
DOI:
10.1002/ajp.22555
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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