Investigating Host Feeding Strategy as a Determinant of Insect Gut Microbial Community Profile at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico



Diverse microbial communities live in the gut regions of animals. The precise ecological and evolutionary circumstances that govern relationships between hosts and their gut communities is unclear. In this study, we hypothesize that host feeding strategy shapes the microbial communities within the gut systems of insects. We collected five insect species from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge that exhibited herbivorous, detritovorous and carnivorous diets. Using gut samples from the insects we measured if and how microbial communities are shaped based on any effect host feeding strategy might have. Preliminary analysis of bacterial communities using 16S rDNA sequences has thus far revealed that the sampled community profiles initially appear to show signs of being determined by host feeding type. Analysis has also shown that sequences from the phyla Firmicutes and Proteobacteria appear to contribute most significantly to the differences between communities of different feeding types. We expect that upon further data recovery, the extent of the effect host feeding type has on the communities will be clarified. Additionally we intend to incorporate bacterial community data from previous studies to further broaden our sample set. We expect our results to further define the ecological circumstances that shape the microbial populations within living systems.

Data set ID: 


Date Range: 

Saturday, September 13, 2008 to Saturday, September 20, 2008

Publication Date: 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



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