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Composition and functional specialists of the gut microbiota of frogs reflect habitat differences and agricultural activity

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Abstract

The physiological impact of agricultural pollution, habitat disturbance, and food source variability on amphibian remains poorly understood. By comparing the composition and predicted functions of gut microbiota of two frog species from forest and farmland, we quantified the effects of the exogenous environment and endogenous filters on gut microbiota and the corresponding functions. However, compositional differences of the gut microbiota between the frog species were not detected, even when removing roughly 80-88% of the confounding effect produced by common and shared bacteria (i.e., generalists) and those taxa deemed too rare. The habitat effect accounted for 14.1% of the compositional difference of gut microbial specialists, but host and host × habitat effects were not significant. Similar trends of a significant habitat effect, at an even higher level (26.0%), for the physiological and metabolic functions of gut microbiota was predicted. A very obvious skewing of the relative abundance of functional groups toward farmland habitats reflects the highly diverse bacterial functions of farmland frogs, in particular related to pathogenic disease and pesticide degradation, which may be indication of poor adaptation or strong selective pressure against disease. These patterns reflect the impacts of agricultural activities on frogs and how such stresses may be applied in an unequal manner for different frog species.

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Huang, B. H., Chang, C. W., Huang, C. W., Gao, J., & Liao, P. C. (2018). Composition and functional specialists of the gut microbiota of frogs reflect habitat differences and agricultural activity. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(JAN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.02670

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