Tessa Cannon's Presentation Takes First Place at Russell Klein Memorial Nutrition Symposium

September 16, 2021

Tessa Cannon's Presentation Takes First Place at Russell Klein Memorial Nutrition Symposium

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An image of a King Colobus monkey
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Congratulations, doctoral candidate Tessa Cannon

Her presentation, titled "Gut microbiota shaped by diet and phylogeny in seven cercopithecids from Tai Forest, Ivory Coast," presented at the Russell Klein Memorial Nutrition Symposium recently received first place in the "Molecular and Basic" category! 

Along with colleagues Luke Fannin of the Dartmouth College Department of Anthropology and Dr. Vanessa Hale of the Ohio State Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, along with her advisor Dr. Scott McGraw, she presented on results from an analysis of the gastrointestinal microbial communities derived from fecal samples of seven cercopithecid species living sympatrically in the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest. Their findings suggest that study of gut microbial diversity and composition in the Tai monkeys presents an excellent opportunity to decipher the interactive effects and relative contributions of diet, habitat use, and evolutionary lineage on the gut microbiome in an ecologically complex community of primates.

Read their full abstract below.

Gut microbiota shaped by diet and phylogeny in seven cercopithecids from Tai Forest, Ivory Coast.

Background: Gut microbiota fundamentally contribute to an animal’s overall health and immune function. Current evidence indicates that host-microbe interactions have very likely influenced primate evolution, so the determinants of gut microbial composition and diversity, including diet, phylogeny, habitat disturbance, strata use, and social interaction, continue to be actively investigated.

Objective: Here we report results from an analysis of the gastrointestinal microbial communities derived from fecal samples of seven cercopithecid species living sympatrically in the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest. Study taxa are Cercocebus atys (Sooty mangabey), Cercopithecus campbelli (Campbell’s monkey), Cercopithecus diana (Diana monkey), Cercopithecus petaurista (Lesser spot-nosed monkey), Colobus polykomos (Western black and white or King colobus), Piliocolobus badius (Western red or Bay colobus), and Procolobus verus (Olive colobus).

Methods: We extracted microbial DNA from fecal samples (n=138) from the seven study taxa using QIAamp® PowerFecal® Pro DNA Kit. Raw, paired-end sequence reads were processed using QIIME2 v. 2020.11. Alpha and beta diversity indices, and an analysis of composition of microbes, were analyzed in QIIME 2.

Results: Distinct microbial signatures were evident within each primate species (PERMANOVA, p < 0.001), with the greatest similarities in microbiota observed between closely related taxa. Preliminary analyses reveal beta diversity clustering associated with phylogenic relationship and percent folivory, with visible variation between young-leaf and mature-leaf specialists. Additionally, both alpha and beta diversity metrics were associated with diet and strata use.

Conclusions: Study of gut microbial diversity and composition in the Tai monkeys presents an excellent opportunity to decipher the interactive effects and relative contributions of diet, habitat use, and evolutionary lineage on the gut microbiome in an ecologically complex community of primates.

Acknowledgements: Fieldwork in Tai Forest was supported by National Science Foundation (BCS 0840110, 0921770, 0922429) and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Support for this project was also provided by the Infectious Diseases Institute and Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

 

Photo by Claire Witham on Flickr.

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