Gastrointestinal symbiont diversity in wild gorilla: A comparison of bacterial and strongylid communities across multiple localities

Bethan Mason, Klara J. Petrzelkova, Jakub Kreisinger, Torsten Bohm, Barbora Cervena, Emilie Fairet, Terence Fuh, Andres Gomez, Sascha Knauf, Ulrich Maloueki, David Modry, Matthew H. Shirley, Nikki Tagg, Nadege Wangue, Barbora Pafco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are Critically Endangered and show continued population decline. Consequently, pressure is mounting to better understand their conservation threats and ecology. Gastrointestinal symbionts, such as bacterial and eukaryotic communities, are believed to play vital roles in the physiological landscape of the host. Gorillas host a broad spectrum of eucaryotes, so called parasites, with strongylid nematodes being particularly prevalent. While these communities are partially consistent, they are also shaped by various ecological factors, such as diet or habitat type. To investigate gastrointestinal symbionts of wild western lowland gorillas, we analysed 215 faecal samples from individuals in five distinct localities across the Congo Basin, using high-throughput sequencing techniques. We describe the gut bacterial microbiome and genetic diversity of strongylid communities, including strain-level identification of amplicon sequence variants (ASVs). We identified strongylid ASVs from eight genera and bacterial ASVs from 20 phyla. We compared these communities across localities, with reference to varying environmental factors among populations, finding differences in alpha diversity and community compositions of both gastrointestinal components. Moreover, we also investigated covariation between strongylid nematodes and the bacterial microbiome, finding correlations between strongylid taxa and Prevotellaceae and Rikenellaceae ASVs that were consistent across multiple localities. Our research highlights the complexity of the bacterial microbiome and strongylid communities in several gorilla populations and emphasizes potential interactions between these two symbiont communities. This study provides a framework for ongoing research into strongylid nematode diversity, and their interactions with the bacterial microbiome, among great apes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4127-4145
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume31
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation, Grant no. 18-24345S and partially by Grant No. 22-16475S. We acknowledge the CF Genomics CEITEC MU supported by the NCMG research infrastructure (LM2015091 funded by MEYS CR) for their support with obtaining scientific data presented in this paper. Computational resources were supplied by the project “e-Infrastruktura CZ” (e-INFRA CZ LM2018140) supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. We thank the Ministère de la Recherche Scientifique et de l'Innovation (Dja permit no. 0000105/MINRESI/B00/C00/C10/C12; Campo Ma'an permit no. 000092/MINRES/B00/C00/C1/nye) and Ministère des Forêts et de la Faune (permit no. 1371/PRS/MINFOF/SG/DFAP/SDVEF/SC), Cameroon, for granting permission to conduct our research in Cameroon. We thank the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (KMDA), Belgium, Projet Grands Singes, Cameroon, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Cameroon, for logistical support in the periphery of Dja Faunal Reserve. We thank Klára Vlčková, Dagmar Jirsová, Zuzana Tehlarová, Arlette Tchankugni Nguemfo, Charmance Irene Nkombou and all local trackers and assistants for their help with sample collection. We would also like to thank to the Kudu-Zombo Programme operated by WWF in Campo Ma'an National Park and their assistance and trackers for logistics and support during sample collection. We would like to express our gratitude to the government of the Central African Republic and the World Wildlife Fund for granting permission to conduct our research in the Central African Republic; the Ministre de l'Education Nationale, de l'Alphabetisation, de l'Enseignement Superieur, et de la Recherche for providing research permits (permit no. N°057/MEESRS/DIRCAB/DGESR/DRS/SCGPRS.11); and the Primate Habituation Programme for providing logistical support in the field. We would like to thank all of the trackers and assistants from the Primate Habituation Programme. We are grateful to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (permit no. N°AR0010/14/MESRS/CENAREST/CG/CST/CSAR) and the Agence National des Parcs Nationaux (permit no. N°AE140009/PR/ANPN/SE/CS/AEPN) for research authorization in Gabon. We thank SFM Safari Gabon for hosting our research and seeing the value of health monitoring as part of the development of ape tourism programmes, and especially to our field assistants Pierre Bukosso and Kharl Remanda for their significant support in the field. We would like to thank the Ministère de la Agriculture, de l'Elevage et de la Peche and Direction Générale de l'Economie Forestière for providing permits (permit no. 225/MAEP/DGE-DSA) in the Republic of Congo and we thank African Parks for permission to conduct research in Odzala and for logistical support. Special thanks go to the field assistants and trackers in Odzala for their help with sample collection.

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation, Grant no. 18‐24345S and partially by Grant No. 22‐16475S. We acknowledge the CF Genomics CEITEC MU supported by the NCMG research infrastructure (LM2015091 funded by MEYS CR) for their support with obtaining scientific data presented in this paper. Computational resources were supplied by the project “e‐Infrastruktura CZ” (e‐INFRA CZ LM2018140) supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. We thank the Ministère de la Recherche Scientifique et de l'Innovation (Dja permit no. 0000105/MINRESI/B00/C00/C10/C12; Campo Ma'an permit no. 000092/MINRES/B00/C00/C1/nye) and Ministère des Forêts et de la Faune (permit no. 1371/PRS/MINFOF/SG/DFAP/SDVEF/SC), Cameroon, for granting permission to conduct our research in Cameroon. We thank the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (KMDA), Belgium, Projet Grands Singes, Cameroon, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Cameroon, for logistical support in the periphery of Dja Faunal Reserve. We thank Klára Vlčková, Dagmar Jirsová, Zuzana Tehlarová, Arlette Tchankugni Nguemfo, Charmance Irene Nkombou and all local trackers and assistants for their help with sample collection. We would also like to thank to the Kudu‐Zombo Programme operated by WWF in Campo Ma'an National Park and their assistance and trackers for logistics and support during sample collection. We would like to express our gratitude to the government of the Central African Republic and the World Wildlife Fund for granting permission to conduct our research in the Central African Republic; the Ministre de l'Education Nationale, de l'Alphabetisation, de l'Enseignement Superieur, et de la Recherche for providing research permits (permit no. N°057/MEESRS/DIRCAB/DGESR/DRS/SCGPRS.11); and the Primate Habituation Programme for providing logistical support in the field. We would like to thank all of the trackers and assistants from the Primate Habituation Programme. We are grateful to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (permit no. N°AR0010/14/MESRS/CENAREST/CG/CST/CSAR) and the Agence National des Parcs Nationaux (permit no. N°AE140009/PR/ANPN/SE/CS/AEPN) for research authorization in Gabon. We thank SFM Safari Gabon for hosting our research and seeing the value of health monitoring as part of the development of ape tourism programmes, and especially to our field assistants Pierre Bukosso and Kharl Remanda for their significant support in the field. We would like to thank the Ministère de la Agriculture, de l'Elevage et de la Peche and Direction Générale de l'Economie Forestière for providing permits (permit no. 225/MAEP/DGE‐DSA) in the Republic of Congo and we thank African Parks for permission to conduct research in Odzala and for logistical support. Special thanks go to the field assistants and trackers in Odzala for their help with sample collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • Strongylida
  • bacterial microbiome
  • gorilla
  • helminth
  • non-human primates

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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