The gut microbiome can influence host energy balances and metabolic programming. While this information is valuable in a disease context, it also has important implications for understanding host energetics from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Here I argue that gut microbial influences on host life history—the timing of events that make up an organism’s life—are an overlooked but robust area of study given that variation in life history is linked directly to host energetic budgets and allocation patterns. Additionally, while cultural influences on life history complicate the exploration of these links in humans, nonhuman primates represent an alternative system in which more robust associations can be made. By integrating human and nonhuman primate microbiome research within the context of life history theory, we will be able to more effectively pinpoint microbial contributions to host phenotypes. This information will improve our understanding of host-microbe interactions in health and disease and will transform the fields of ecology and evolution more generally.
- Gut microbiome
- Life history
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications