Bacterial community composition in Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) Penguin stomach contents from Signy Island, South Orkney Islands

Yew, Wen Chyin, Pearce, David, Dunn, Michael J., Samah, Azizan Abu and Convey, Peter (2017) Bacterial community composition in Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) Penguin stomach contents from Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Polar Biology, 40 (12). pp. 2517-2530. ISSN 0722-4060

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Penguin stomach microbiota and its variability are important as these microbes may contribute to the fitness of the host birds and their chicks, and influence the microbial ecosystem of the surrounding soils. However, there is relatively little knowledge in this area, with the majority of studies focused on their deposited faeces. Here we investigated whether similar foraging strategies in adjacent colonies of different penguin species lead to similar temporarily conserved stomach microbiota. To do this, we studied the inter- and intra-specific variations in bacterial community composition in the stomach contents of sympatrically breeding Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) Penguins, which consumed a diet of 100% Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) under a similar foraging regime on Signy Island (maritime Antarctic), using a high-throughput DNA sequencing approach. Our data show that Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins shared 23–63% similarity in the stomach bacterial community composition, with no significant differences observed in the α-diversity or the assemblages of frequently encountered groups of operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The most frequently encountered OTUs that were shared between the species represented members of the phyla Fusobacteria, Firmicutes, Tenericutes and Proteobacteria. OTUs which were unique to individual birds and to single species formed approximately half of the communities identified, suggesting that stomach microbiota variability can occur in penguins that forage and breed under similar environmental conditions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This study was funded by the Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation (YPASM) and the National Antarctic Research Centre, University of Malaya Research Grant (UMRG: RP007-2012A). Laboratory resources were provided by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Northumbria University. We thank Stacey Adlard for her assistance in the field sampling. We also thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Wen Chyin Yew is a recipient of MyBrain scholarship (MyPhD) funded by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. Peter Convey and Michael J Dunn are supported by NERC core funding to the BAS “Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation” and “Ecosystems” teams, respectively. This paper also contributes to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research “State of the Antarctic Ecosystem” research programme (AntEco).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Antarctic, High-throughput sequencing, Internal gut, Inter-individual, Inter-specific, Microbiota
Subjects: C500 Microbiology
D300 Animal Science
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 16:03
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2022 12:06

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