All ecosystems around the globe are impacted by the interplay between herbivores and their gut microbes. Strict herbivores such as grazers are dependent on the enzymes produced by their gut microbes to digest the complex plant fibers that constitute their diet. These animals form a symbiotic relationship with their microbes, one that affects ecosystems around the globe because it allows f要么 energy to be transferred from plants to animals.
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Associate Professor 奥托·科尔德罗 of the 土木与环境工程系 recently teamed up with researchers from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and with Professor Itzhak Mizrahi from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The group hypothesized that the susceptibility of the marine iguanas is caused by a loss of functional diversity in their microbiomes — in other words, that generations of a specialized diet has led to a shift in the iguana gut microbiome, favoring micro要么ganisms that can only digest one type of algae.
To test this idea, the team visited the islands and collected samples from various iguana colonies around the archipelago. The group plans to identify the enzymes and the microbes responsible for the algal breakdown, and to study potential microbiome interventions that could expand the iguana diet and enable them to consume other forms of algae. If successful, this would represent a novel strategy f要么 conservation based on microbiome engineering.
Submitted by: MIT 土木与环境工程系 | 通过视频：野望集体 | 5分钟后，33秒