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The gut microbiome reflects ancestry despite dietary shifts across a hybrid zone

Citation

Nielsen, Danny et al. (2022), The gut microbiome reflects ancestry despite dietary shifts across a hybrid zone, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cfxpnvx8v

Abstract

The microbiome is critical to an organism’s phenotype, and its composition is shaped by, and a driver of, eco-evolutionary interactions. We investigated how host ancestry, habitat, and diet shape gut microbial composition in a mammalian hybrid zone that occurs across an ecotone between distinct vegetation communities. We found that habitat is the primary determinant of diet, while host genotype is the primary determinant of the gut microbiome—a finding further supported by intermediate microbiome composition in first generation hybrids. Despite these distinct primary drivers, microbial richness was correlated with diet richness, and individuals that maintained higher dietary richness had greater gut microbial community stability. Both relationships were stronger in the relative dietary generalist of the two parental species. Our findings show that host ancestry interacts with dietary habits to shape the microbiome, ultimately resulting in the organismal phenotypic plasticity that host-microbial interactions allow.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1457209

National Science Foundation, Award: OIA-1826801