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The relationship between microbiomes and their hosts is dynamic and we may expect adjustments in microbiome composition, function and dynamics if host physiology changes. Therefore, host nutrition and behavior, and their potential changes in a fluctuating environment, are likely to strongly impact the ...

The relationship between microbiomes and their hosts is dynamic and we may expect adjustments in microbiome composition, function and dynamics if host physiology changes. Therefore, host nutrition and behavior, and their potential changes in a fluctuating environment, are likely to strongly impact the specificity of host-symbiont relationships. Variation in physical factors (e.g. soil nutrient availability in the case of plants), innate or learned behaviors (e.g. hibernation, migration and human culture) and dietary habits associated to different geographical locations and lifestyles may all determine to a great extent the composition and function of host-associated microbiomes. For example, the root-associated microbiota of rice plants changes as a response to water availability. In the human realm, lifestyle, tradition and culture define behavioral patterns, but the extent to which these affect the microbiome has only begun to be explored. Although widely different lifestyles, such as that of Western societies versus that of rural villages in Africa or South America, have been repeatedly shown to strongly impact the microbiome, the potential effects of more restricted behaviors have yet to be extensively addressed. It is known that some particular behaviors such as smoking or exercising can affect the microbiome, but many other common behaviors have not been investigated in this respect. As an example, many behaviors associated to religious or spiritual practices, ranging from circumcision to fasting, meditation, or the burning of incense and essential oils, could potentially impact the microbes we harbor and how they influence our health.

In this Research Topic, we would like to encourage the submission of manuscripts investigating how specific behavioral or nutritional factors affect host-associated microbiomes. Research that includes both comparative analyses and experimentation would be particularly welcome, as well as theoretical modeling of host-microbiome systems.

Ideally, we would like the submitted works to address questions relating to the following issues:
1. Does the modification of symbiotic microbial communities in a host undergoing different exposures due to behavioral or nutritional changes result in significant tradeoffs in structure or function?
2. Do microbial symbiotic communities adapt first to behavioral or nutritional changes, as microbes have shorter generation times, higher reproductive rates and a rapid population/community turnover?
3. Or are the microbial symbionts just tracking the physiological fluctuations of the host as it adapts to its environment or lifestyle?


We particularly encourage research that includes
1. Comparative and/or experimental analyses of plant-, animal- or human- associated microbiomes relative to behavioral or nutritional changes, including but not restricted to those that result from adaptation to climate change.
2. The effects of lifestyle and cultural traditions on the composition and dynamics of the human microbiomes including but not restricted to gut, oral and skin.
3. The effects of sexual practices and contraceptive use on the human reproductive tract microbiome.
4. The effects of specific behaviors or activities on the human microbiome including but not limited to smoking, exercising and sleeping habits.
5. Comparative and/or experimental analyses of the effect of specific foods and small dietary changes on human and animal microbiomes as well as the impact of fertilizers and pesticides on plant microbiomes.
6. Metabolic, ecological or evolutionary modeling of microbiome adaptation to host changes in nutrition or behavior.

Keywords: microbiome, host-microbiome system, microbial symbionts


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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