Wildlife Microbial Genomics and Endocrinology
Holly L. Lutz, Sophia Carryl and Rachel M. Santymire
from: Microbial Ecology: Current Advances from Genomics, Metagenomics and Other Omics (Edited by: Diana Marco). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2019) Pages: 107-122.
Microbes play an integral role in the healthy functioning of most living systems and a disturbed microbiome can be an indication of or invitation for infection and disease. In an era of accelerated anthropogenic change and environmental disturbance, the biological characterization of natural systems is critical. The advent of 'omics' approaches to microbial ecology has provided a new means for these systems to be described and is leading to unprecedented insights into organismal health and ecosystem quality. The ability to characterize microbial variation within individuals and across species and populations has also provided a new framework in which to study symbiotic relationships. Indeed, the synthesis of microbial ecology and host and environmental biology provides the foundation for what is now considered the 'one health' approach to zoonotic disease surveillance and prevention. In addition to improving our basic knowledge of what constitutes a healthy organism, microbial 'omics' approaches can inform wildlife conservation and captive animal husbandry practices by providing pre-clinical indicators of stress, reproductive ability, and disease. When applied to natural history surveys of organisms and ecosystems, microbial genomics approaches can provide important baseline data for bacteria and viruses with zoonotic potential. The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of how genomic approaches to microbial ecology can be paired with host biology, endocrinology, and disease data to characterize overall health of animals, habitats, and ecosystems to inform conservation and disease surveillance strategies read more ...