Integrating gut bacterial diversity and captive husbandry to optimize vulture conservation

Becker, A.A., Harrison, S.W. ORCID: 0000-0003-1791-3335, Whitehouse-Tedd, G., Budd, J.A. and Whitehouse-Tedd, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0061-489X, 2020. Integrating gut bacterial diversity and captive husbandry to optimize vulture conservation. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11: 1025.

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Endangered species recovery plans often include captive breeding and reintroduction, but success remains rare. Critical for effective recovery is an assessment of captivity-induced changes in adaptive traits of reintroduction candidates. The gut microbiota is one such trait and is particularly important for scavengers exposed to carcass microbiomes. We investigated husbandry-associated differences in the gut microbiota of two Old World vulture species using 16S RNA gene amplicon sequencing. Increased abundance of Actinobacteria occurred when vultures were fed quail but not rat or chicken. Conversely, diet preparation (sanitization) had no effect, although bacterial diversity differed significantly between vulture species, likely reflective of evolved feeding ecologies. Whilst the relative lack of influence of a sanitized diet is encouraging, changes in bacterial abundance associated with the type of prey occurred, representing a dietary influence on host-microbiome condition warranting consideration in ex-situ species recovery plans. Incorporation of microbiome research in endangered species management, therefore, provides an opportunity to refine conservation practice.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Frontiers in Microbiology
Creators: Becker, A.A., Harrison, S.W., Whitehouse-Tedd, G., Budd, J.A. and Whitehouse-Tedd, K.
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Date: 2020
Volume: 11
Rights: © 2020 Becker, Harrison, Whitehouse-Tedd, Budd and Whitehouse-Tedd. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Apr 2020 10:39
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2021 12:18
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