Captivity, diet and geography may impact the composition of animal gut microbiota


  • Glory Hui University of British Columbia
  • Christopher Hong
  • Jeong Min Son


The mammalian gut microbiota is influenced by various factors, such as geography, captivity and diet. Geography has been observed to cause variations within a single species, while captivity has been shown to disrupt gut microbial diversity. A major driver of the variation observed in geography and captivity has been accredited to changes in diet composition. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that all three factors will play a major role in shaping the gut microbial communities of captive and wild mammals. In this study, we used alpha and beta diversity metrics to observe the effects of geography and captivity in mammals, which led to studying diet in primates. We identified bacterial indicator taxa with regards to geography and captivity as well as conducted correlation analysis for diet. We observed patterns between geography and gut microbial composition, and hence, similar to previous studies, we conclude that geography influences the gut microbiome. Also in line with past findings, captivity was seen to change the microbial composition of animals such that convergence towards the human gut microbiome was observed.  We were also able to demonstrate some correlation between food source and members of microbiota of various primates with findings in agreement with past studies of human and other primate gut microbiome.


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