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Geography, seasonality, and host‐associated population structure influence the fecal microbiome of a genetically depauparate Arctic mammal

Citation

Bird, Samantha et al. (2020), Geography, seasonality, and host‐associated population structure influence the fecal microbiome of a genetically depauparate Arctic mammal, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fj6q573q2

Abstract

The Canadian Arctic is an extreme environment with low floral and faunal diversity characterized by major seasonal shifts in temperature, moisture and daylight. Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) are one of few large herbivores able to survive this harsh environment. Microbiome research of the gastrointestinal tract may hold clues as to how muskoxen exist in the Arctic, but also how this species may respond to rapid environmental changes. In this study, we investigated the effects of season (spring/summer/winter), year (2007-2016), and host genetic structure on population-level microbiome variation in muskoxen from the Canadian Arctic. We utilized 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize the fecal microbial communities of 78 male muskoxen encompassing two population genetic clusters. These clusters are defined by Arctic Mainland and Island populations, including; 1) two mainland sampling locations of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut; and 2) four locations of Victoria Island. Between these geographic populations, we found that differences in the microbiome reflected host-associated genetic cluster with evidence of migration. Within populations, seasonality influenced bacterial diversity with no significant differences between years of sampling. We found evidence of pathogenic bacteria, with significantly higher presence in mainland samples. Our findings demonstrate the effects of seasonality and the role of host population-level structure in driving fecal microbiome differences in a large Arctic mammal.

Methods

DNA from fecal samples were extracted using the Qiagen Power Fecal DNA extraction kit. The Illumina 16S metagenomic library protocol was followed.

Usage Notes

Raw fastq files for two different runs are uploaded. The same samples were sequenced in both runs, and were used to evaluate possible batch effects. 

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: Discovery Grant to Christopher Kyle and Susan Kutz

ArcticNet

NSERC Northern Supplement

Polar Knowledge Canada