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FOREST SHAPES GUT MICROBIOTA OF GREAT TITS

Updated: Jan 10

A new article by researchers of Wildlife Health Ghent and others :-)


Wild birds and their habitat are inextricably linked to human activities as their natural environment is subjected to an increasing pressure of fragmentation. Despite its pivotal role in host health, it remains largely unknown whether the gut microbiomes of wild birds are affected by habitat fragmentation and/or whether other factors are also involved. In fact, studies examining the gastrointestinal flora in wild birds are rather scarce and they are dominated by studies of mammals and agriculturally important birds. Goossens et al. (2022) focused on the gut microbiome of great tit nestlings and they investigated how forest structure influences the bacterial species richness and diversity and whether this is linked to host characteristics. The paper shows that forest fragmentation interacts with other forest characteristics (e.g. tree species composition or richness) in shaping the avian gut microbiome. As such, the data highlight the impact of human encroachment into animal habitats on the gut microbiome during a life stage where the birds’ microbiota is shaped, possibly leading to long-term consequences for host fitness.


Find the full article here.

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