Research Topic

The Wildlife Gut Microbiome and Its Implication for Conservation Biology

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The animal gut microbiota can be beneficial in many ways, including dietary supplementation, host immune function and behavior. This suggest that the microbiota play a pivotal role in host fitness and thus also in the conservation and management of species and populations. The microbiomes of animals affect ...

The animal gut microbiota can be beneficial in many ways, including dietary supplementation, host immune function and behavior. This suggest that the microbiota play a pivotal role in host fitness and thus also in the conservation and management of species and populations. The microbiomes of animals affect host fitness, population characteristics (such as demography and health status), and adaptability. For example, the fitness effects of gut microbiomes on wild animals may have important implications for the conservation and management of species. Microbiome studies can also increase our understanding of non-native species invasion, host response to pathogens and chemical contamination, and host ability to tolerate climate change. For example, climate change has caused a decrease in the gut microbial alpha-diversity in some wild animal populations. There is thus a need to increase our knowledge of the importance of microbiomes in conservation biology.

Comprehensive surveys investigating the composition and function of the gut microbiomes of wild animals are ongoing. Original research articles, which demonstrate the potential connection between gut microbiome and conservation biology, are welcome in this topic. Subtopics include, but are not limited to, studies that examine:
(1) gut microbial composition and function after translocation of endangered species.
(2) the putative connection between native and invasive species’ gut microbiomes.
(3) the response of wild animal gut microbiome to climate change. Does global warming cause changes in wild animal gut microbial composition and function? What is the specific effect on the host surviving or environmental adaptation (positive or negative) by these changes?
(4) the animal gut microbiome response to the changes in the host habitat (e.g., fragmented and isolated).
(5) the potential connection between the symbiotic gut microbiome and host fitness in the wild.


Keywords: gut microbiomes, translocation, invasive, host fitness, climate warming, habitat fragmentation, conservation


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