Abstract # 13463 Event # 201:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2019 02:00 PM-02:15 PM: (Room 313) Symposium


THE GUT MICROBIOME OF VARECIA VARIEGATA OCCUPYING DISTURBED FOREST

N. McManus1, S. Kuthyar1, E. Mallott1, E. Louis2, S. Johnson3, S. Holmes3, T. H. Webster4, A. L. Baden5,6 and K. R. Amato1
1Northwestern University, Dept. of Anthropology, Evanston, IL, USA, 2Henry Doorly Zoo, 3University of Calgary, 4University of Utah, 5CUNY Hunter College, 6New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology
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Anthropogenic habitat disturbance and associated diet changes have been shown to impact the gut microbiomes (GMs) of many species of wild primates, which may have important health consequences. However, to date, most primate GM studies target primates with either a specialized folivorous diet or an omnivorous diet. Much less is known about the GM of specialized frugivores despite a potentially larger opportunity for nutritional stress in disturbed habitats with fewer large fruit trees. Here, we examine the impact of anthropogenic habitat disturbance on the diet and GM of the critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata editorum). Between June and August 2018, we collected fecal samples from three populations: a primary forest (Mangevo, Ranomafana National Park, N=12 individuals), a moderately disturbed forest (Vatovavy, N=4 individuals), and a heavily disturbed forest (Sangasanga, N=4 individuals). We also collected behavioral data using full day follows at each site. In the primary forest the diet consisted of both leaves (~52%) and fruit (~36%). In the recovering forest it consisted almost entirely of flower nectar (~98%), and in the disturbed forest it consisted of fruit (~58%) and nectar (~33%). GM data are currently being analyzed to test for correlations between diet and GM composition and to understand if habitat degradation appears to negatively impact the Varecia GM. If so, the GM should be an important new focus of Varecia conservation efforts.