What is the microbiome of Alaska’s black bears? Place, place, place

Alaska black bear

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A recent study of Alaskan black bears (Ursus arctos) found that the gut microbiome of the bear population varies greatly, depending on where the bears live. The study enhances our understanding of the relationship between wildlife, diet and gut microbiome diversity.

“The gut microbiome is the ecosystem of microbial life that fills the digestive system of an animal – and this microbiome plays an important role in the well -being of the animal,” said Erin McKenney, lead author of the paper in the process and the assistant counsel of the application. ecosystem at North Carolina State University. “Everything we learn about these microbiomes will help us determine the information that supports the health of wildlife species.”

“The Alaskan wilderness is changing, a major habitat for black bears,” said Grant Hilderbrand, lead author of the study and co -director for resources for the National Park Service in Alaska. “The gut microbiome is a new diagnostic tool for understanding the health of wild animal species. It can help us predict how animal health will change as the environment changes. Microbiomes in Alaska’s heavy black bears.

The researchers began the project with the goal of demonstrating the nature of the gut microbiome of Alaskan brown bears.

“Bears are very good in this environment, because they are omnivores,” said Diana Lafferty, the paper’s lead author and assistant professor of biology at Northern Michigan University. “Bears work as food thieves, and they have a simple system – which means their microbiome plays an important role in helping them extract food from their food. The good microbiomes for these animals are known to be relatively safe.

Researchers have benefited from piggybacking on other research projects that have already begun. The National Park Service has previously conducted research projects related to the monitoring and control of wild bears in three parks and national parks: Katmai; Lake Clark; and the Gates of the Arctic.

“In conjunction with ongoing projects, we have been able to collect all the data and samples at no cost,” Hilderbrand said.

For this study, researchers evaluated 66 fecal samples from 51 brown bears reported during the previous research sessions. As a result of the collection of these samples in the form of ongoing research, the researchers obtained data on the age of each bear, male, size and physical condition.

The researchers extracted microbial DNA from fecal samples, and evaluated those results to determine the nature of the microbes in each sample.

“We found significant differences in the differences in the microbiomes of the bears in each of the three parks,” said Sarah Trujillo, author of the paper who conducted the study as a graduate student at NMU. Katmai is very different and has a variety of food sources. We thought: the more diverse the diet, the more diverse the gut microbiome.

“But while we know the differences in microbiome differences in each park, those differences can’t be fully explained by food alone.”

The paper, “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Influence on an Omnivore’s Gut Microbiome,” was published in the journal. PLOS SOMEONE.


The biome of the black bear is very simple, scientists say


More information:
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Enhance the Gut Microbiome of the Omnivore, PLoS ANYTHING (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0266698

Presented by North Carolina State University

Directions: What is the gut microbiome of Alaska black bears? Place, place, place (2022, April 8) retrieved on 8 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-gut-microbiomes-alaska-brown.html

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