The microbes in birds’ guts change as they migrate.


A person’s physical and mental health, as well as their dietary habits, influence the community of microbes living in their intestines. Location plays a role as well.

The gut microbiome of someone who lives in Arizona will be different from that of someone who lives in South Carolina. According to scientists at the University of Chicago, the same is true for birds, if not more so.

According to new research published in the journal Molecular Ecology on Tuesday, migratory birds’ gut microbiota evolves as they move from place to place.

“We’ve seen in other animals that the places their hosts live can influence microbiomes,” lead study author Heather Skeen said in a press release.

“Many birds migrate, and at different points in their migratory cycle, they encounter different environments. Skeen, a doctoral student at the Field Museum and the University of Chicago, said, “We didn’t know how these different environments affected the birds’ microbiomes.” Skeen and her colleagues used tracking devices to track Kirtland’s warblers as they flew from the Bahamas to Michigan for the summer.

Each Kirtland’s warbler was placed in a brown paper bag before being released and heading north, where the birds promptly relieved themselves. Researchers sequenced the microbiota found in each bird’s droppings.

Once in northern Michigan, the tracking devices allowed researchers to locate and capture the same birds. The microbiota of the two sample sets was compared after scientists collected and analyzed the droppings of the same individual birds. The gut microbiome of each bird is heavily influenced by geography, according to their findings.

“One of the most important aspects of this study is that we were able to recapture birds at different times of the annual cycle in different locations, and we have this one-to-one comparison of the same population and the same individuals and how their microbiomes changed,” Skeen said.

“We wouldn’t have been able to say for sure if the changes we saw were due to location or if they were just differences between populations if we had tested different individual birds.” “These results are much more supported because we were looking at the exact same birds,” Skeen said. The study may not have gone as smoothly with other migratory birds, but Kirtland’s warblers are unique.

The tracking devices were beneficial, but even more so… Nokia News: Article Summary


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