Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/130116
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Type: Journal article
Title: Host reproductive cycle influences the pouch microbiota of wild southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons)
Author: Weiss, S.
Taggart, D.
Smith, I.
Helgen, K.M.
Eisenhofer, R.
Citation: Animal Microbiome, 2021; 3(1):13
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 2524-4671
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Sesilje Weiss, David Taggart, Ian Smith, Kristofer M. Helgen and Raphael Eisenhofer
Abstract: Background: Marsupials are born much earlier than placental mammals, with most crawling from the birth canal to the protective marsupium (pouch) to further their development. However, little is known about the microbiology of the pouch and how it changes throughout a marsupial's reproductive cycle. Here, using stringent controls, we characterized the microbial composition of multiple body sites from 26 wild Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats (SHNWs), including pouch samples from animals at different reproductive stages. Results: Using qPCR of the 16S rRNA gene we detected a microbial community in the SHNW pouch. We observed significant differences in microbial composition and diversity between the body sites tested, as well as between pouch samples from different reproductive stages. The pouches of reproductively active females had drastically lower microbial diversity (mean ASV richness 19 ± 8) compared to reproductively inactive females (mean ASV richness 941 ± 393) and were dominated by gram positive bacteria from the Actinobacteriota phylum (81.7-90.6%), with the dominant families classified as Brevibacteriaceae, Corynebacteriaceae, Microbacteriaceae, and Dietziaceae. Three of the five most abundant sequences identified in reproductively active pouches had closest matches to microbes previously isolated from tammar wallaby pouches. Conclusions: This study represents the first contamination-controlled investigation into the marsupial pouch microbiota, and sets a rigorous framework for future pouch microbiota studies. Our results indicate that SHNW pouches contain communities of microorganisms that are substantially altered by the host reproductive cycle. We recommend further investigation into the roles that pouch microorganisms may play in marsupial reproductive health and joey survival.
Rights: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
RMID: 1000033897
DOI: 10.1186/s42523-021-00074-8
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/CE170100015
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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