Data from: Space, time, and captivity: quantifying the factors influencing the fecal microbiome of an alpine ungulate
Haworth, Sarah E.; White, Kevin S.; Côté, Steeve D.; Shafer, Aaron B.A. (2020), Data from: Space, time, and captivity: quantifying the factors influencing the fecal microbiome of an alpine ungulate, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kk17v5d
The community of microorganisms in the gut is affected by host species, diet and environment and is linked to normal functioning of the host organism. Although the microbiome fluctuates in response to host demands and environmental changes, there are core groups of microorganisms that remain relatively constant throughout the hosts lifetime. Ruminants are mammals that rely on highly specialized digestive and metabolic modifications, including microbiome adaptations, to persist in extreme environments. Here, we assayed the fecal microbiome of four mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) populations in western North America. We quantified fecal microbiome diversity and composition among groups in the wild and captivity, across populations and in a single group over time. There were no differences in community evenness or diversity across groups, although we observed a decreasing diversity trend across summer months. Pairwise sample estimates grouped the captive population distinctly from the wild populations, and moderately grouped the southern wild group distinctly from the two northern wild populations. We identified 33 genera modified by captivity, with major differences in key groups associated with cellulose degradation that likely reflect differences in diet. Our findings are consistent with other ruminant studies and provide baseline microbiome data in this enigmatic species, offering valuable insights into the health of wild alpine ungulates.