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  Age-related differences in the cloacal microbiota of a wild bird species

van Dongen, W. F. D., White, J., Brandl, H. B., Moodley, Y., Merkling, T., Leclaire, S., et al. (2013). Age-related differences in the cloacal microbiota of a wild bird species. BMC Ecology, 13: 11. doi:10.1186/1472-6785-13-11.

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 Creators:
van Dongen, W. F. D., Author
White, J., Author
Brandl, Hanja B.1, Author              
Moodley, Y., Author              
Merkling, T., Author
Leclaire, S., Author
Blanchard, P., Author
Danchin, E., Author
Hatch, S. A., Author
Wagner, R. H., Author              
Affiliations:
1University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Background: Gastrointestinal bacteria play a central role in the health of animals. The bacteria that individuals acquire as they age may therefore have profound consequences for their future fitness. However, changes in microbial community structure with host age remain poorly understood. We characterised the cloacal bacteria assemblages of chicks and adults in a natural population of black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), using molecular methods. Results: We show that the kittiwake cloaca hosts a diverse assemblage of bacteria. A greater number of total bacterial OTUs (operational taxonomic units) were identified in chicks than adults, and chicks appeared to host a greater number of OTUs that were only isolated from single individuals. In contrast, the number of bacteria identified per individual was higher in adults than chicks, while older chicks hosted more OTUs than younger chicks. Finally, chicks and adults shared only seven OTUs, resulting in pronounced differences in microbial assemblages. This result is surprising given that adults regurgitate food to chicks and share the same nesting environment. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that chick gastrointestinal tracts are colonised by many transient species and that bacterial assemblages gradually transition to a more stable adult state. Phenotypic differences between chicks and adults may lead to these strong differences in bacterial communities. These data provide the framework for future studies targeting the causes and consequences of variation in bacterial assemblages in wild birds.

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 Dates: 2013-03-25
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: Other: WOS:000319676900001
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-13-11
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Title: BMC Ecology
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: BioMed Central
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 13 Sequence Number: 11 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1472-6785
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/111000136906070