Swingley, Wesley D.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Biological Sciences
Madagascar is home to thousands of endemic species, making it a biodiversity hotspot that is rapidly losing its fauna due to deforestation and human expansion. Efforts to restore and preserve this unique island are ongoing and several researchers have placed their focus on preventing species extinctions. One research avenue that can help contribute to these efforts is to study health and wellness of animals located in areas affected by these changes. In this study, I sought to characterize microbial community composition of two native lemur species found in Madagascar and compare those profiles to similar species found in captivity in order to better understand any potential health differences. This characterization was performed by creating gut microbiome composition profiles for two lemur species found in Tsinjoarivo, Madagascar, as well as two captive lemur species found in captivity in the United states at the Duke Lemur Center (DLC). Fecal samples collected from Madagascar and DLC were processed through DNA extraction, amplification, and sequencing in order to compare the gut microbiome composition in a wild and natural habitat vs. a captive and monitored setting. Hapalemur griseus and Propithecus diadema were sampled as wild lemurs, and Hapalemur griseus and Propithecus coquereli were sampled as captive lemurs. The main focus of this study is to evaluate whether any differences exist between captive and wild microbiomes of these lemurs. Additional questions address where these differences are and what they can imply about the overall health of these animals. I am hopeful that future researchers can use these results in conservation and preservation research of plants and animals in Madagascar.
Ritchie, Brenna, "The Gut Microbiome of Hapalemur griseus griseus, Propithecus diadema, and Propithecus coquereli: A Comparative Study Between Wild and Captive Lemur Species" (2021). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 7597.
Northern Illinois University
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