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Habitat shapes diversity of gut microbiomes in a wild population of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus

Cite this dataset

Drobniak, Szymon et al. (2022). Habitat shapes diversity of gut microbiomes in a wild population of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus [Dataset]. Dryad.


Microbiome constitutes and important axis of individual variation that, together with genes and the environment, influences an individual’s physiology and fitness. Microbiomes are dependent not only on an individual’s body condition but also on external factors, such as diet or stress levels, and as such can be involved into feedbacks between the external ecological factors and internal physiology. In our study we used a wild population of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) to investigate the impact of external habitat composition on the microbiome of adult birds. We hypothesized, that – through differences in plant composition, potentially affecting diet complexity – habitat type may impact the diversity and structure of the gut microbiome. Blue tits breeding in dense deciduous forests tended to have more diverse microbiomes, and significantly different in terms of microbiome composition from birds breeding in open, sparsely forested hay meadows. Distinct study plots also tended to differ in a number of parameters describing microbiome diversity. We observed no microbiome differentiation according to individual characteristics such as sex or age. The study emphasizes, that external environment is one of the important modulators of microbiome diversity and calls for more such studies in wild animal populations.

Usage notes

Fields in data:

sample-id: unique identifier of each sample

isNegative: Sample = bird sample, Neg = contamination control samples

sex: F = female, M = male

repl: R = samples in duplicate (see MS for how they were treated)

plotTop: ID of the study plot

habitat: type of forest habitat

ambiguous: A = box assignment to habitat may be ambiguous, see MS for how it was treated

year: study year

age: bird age, 3+ = adult, 20 = juvenile

bird_id: id of each studied individual


Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Award: IP2015 016374