All mammals rely on gut microbes to break down otherwise indigestible material such as fiber1. Studies of humans and animal models indicate that the composition and function of the gut microbiota shifts in response to host physiology and diet2-5. These shifts can impact host nutrition and health, and are likely to influence host fitness. However, little is known about host-gut microbe relationships in wild mammal populations where the consequences for host fitness are likely to be great. For instance, like most mammals, wild, non-human primates experience fluctuations in resource availability across seasons, habitats, and in response to anthropogenic disturbance6-9. If the gut microbiota can compensate for associated changes in host diet by providing addition energy or nutrients, it is likely to positively affect host nutrition and fitness. In contrast, if the gut microbiota becomes degraded in response to these changes, it may compound host nutritional challenges.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/15 → 9/30/17|
- Nacey Maggioncalda Foundation (Letter 11/23/15)