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Functional Diversity within Gut Microbiomes: Implications for Conserving Biodiversity

School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
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Academic Editor: Svein Øivind Solberg
Received: 27 September 2021 / Revised: 18 October 2021 / Accepted: 21 October 2021 / Published: 25 October 2021
Conservation research has historically been conducted at the macro level, focusing on animals and plants and their role in the wider ecosystem. However, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of microbial communities in conservation. Most microbiome research in conservation thus far has used amplicon sequencing methods to assess the taxonomic composition of microbial communities and inferred functional capabilities from these data. However, as manipulation of the microbiome as a conservation tool becomes more and more feasible, there is a growing need to understand the direct functional consequences of shifts in microbiome composition. This review outlines the latest advances in microbiome research from a functional perspective and how these data can be used to inform conservation strategies. This review will also consider some of the challenges faced when studying the microbiomes of wild animals and how they can be overcome by careful study design and sampling methods. Environmental changes brought about by climate change or direct human actions have the potential to alter the taxonomic composition of microbiomes in wild populations. Understanding how taxonomic shifts affect the function of microbial communities is important for identifying species most threatened by potential disruption to their microbiome. Preservation or even restoration of these functions has the potential to be a powerful tool in conservation biology and a shift towards functional characterisation of gut microbiome diversity will be an important first step. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacteria; environmental change; genetic diversity; health; taxonomic profiling; threatened species bacteria; environmental change; genetic diversity; health; taxonomic profiling; threatened species
MDPI and ACS Style

Dodd, C.S.; Grueber, C.E. Functional Diversity within Gut Microbiomes: Implications for Conserving Biodiversity. Conservation 2021, 1, 311-326. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040024

AMA Style

Dodd CS, Grueber CE. Functional Diversity within Gut Microbiomes: Implications for Conserving Biodiversity. Conservation. 2021; 1(4):311-326. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040024

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dodd, Cameron S., and Catherine E. Grueber. 2021. "Functional Diversity within Gut Microbiomes: Implications for Conserving Biodiversity" Conservation 1, no. 4: 311-326. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040024

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