Bornbusch SL, Greene LK, Rahobilalaina S, Calkins S, Rothman RS, Clarke TA, LaFleur M, and Drea CM. 2021. Gut microbiota of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Vary across natural and captive populations and correlate with environmental microbiota. In Brooks M, Koutsos E, and Henry B Eds. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation and AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Virtual.
Gut microbiomes play critical roles in maintaining host nutrition and overall health. It is well established that gut microbiomes differ between captive and wild conspecifics, a pattern largely attributed to distinct diets. Often, diets of animals under human care are understandably restricted and cannot recapitulate diets of wild animals. Another less well-studied aspect of diet is the ingestion of environmental microbes, or ‘environmental acquisition’; animals ingest microbes via dietary items or exposure water or soil microbes (e.g., via geophagy). Whereas wild animals are exposed to natural habitats that are rich in environmental microbes, captive animals often inhabit settings with minimized or altered microbial environments (e.g., via indoor enclosures, cleaning regimens, sanitized/prepared diets). Here, we test for effects of diet and environmental acquisition in shaping the gut microbiomes of the ecologically flexible, ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), across wild and captive settings in Madagascar and the U.S.06_Bornbusch.pdf     287 KB