BackgroundThe microbiota plays a critical role in host homeostasis and has been shown to be a major driving force in host evolution. However, our understanding of these important relationships is hampered by a lack of data for many species, and by significant gaps in sampling of the evolutionary tree. In this investigation we improve our understanding of the host-microbiome relationship by obtaining samples from all seven extant species of sea turtle, and correlate microbial compositions with host evolutionary history.
ResultsOur analysis shows that the predominate phyla in the microbiota of nesting sea turtles was Proteobacteria. We also demonstrate a strong relationship between the bacterial phyla SR1 and sea turtle phylogeny, and that sea turtle microbiotas have changed very slowly over time in accordance with their similarly slow phenotypic changes.
ConclusionsThis is one of the most comprehensive microbiota studies to have been performed in a single clade of animals and further improves our knowledge of how microbial populations have influenced vertebrate evolution.
SUBMITTER: Scheelings TF