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The effect of gut microbiota on host fitness of animals released from captivity

Smith, Taylor (2019) The effect of gut microbiota on host fitness of animals released from captivity. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

It is estimated that only 33% of the animals in reintroduction programs survive upon their release into the wild, highlighting a major area of concern among captive-breeding and reintroduction conservation programs. A potential method for improving survival rates involves the maintenance of the gut microbiota, as it has been found to directly and/or indirectly regulate various physiological and behavioral traits of the host. Due to the current trends of biodiversity loss and the statistical lack of success in reintroduction programs, an understanding of how the gut microbiota influences fitness is vital. In this review I assessed the composition of the gut microbiota among various species in captivity compared to their wild conspecifics. I also reviewed the influence of the gut microbiota on diet, behavior, health, and development. In most species, alpha-diversity of the gut microbiota was lower in captive animals. Beta diversities also differed between captive and wild animals in most species. This indicates that captivity does indeed alter the gut microbiome. This may partially explain the often-inferior health of captive animals. In addition, a change in the gut microbiota may result in altered behavior, as the gut microbiome is associated with behaviors such as anxiety and social interaction. A change in gut microbiota may thus have a significant effect on the fitness of individuals. Determining the extent of these effects and designing a method to mitigate them may improve the success of conservation programs.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Supervisor:
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Dietz, M.W.M.W.Dietz@rug.nl
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2019 14:42
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/18989

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