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Identification of novel bacterial biomarkers to detect bird scavenging by invasive rats

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dc.contributor.author Muletz-Wolz, Carly R. en
dc.contributor.author Wilson Rankin, Erin en
dc.contributor.author McGrath-Blaser, Sarah en
dc.contributor.author Venkatraman, Madhvi en
dc.contributor.author Maldonado, Jesus E. en
dc.contributor.author Gruner, Daniel S. en
dc.contributor.author Fleischer, Robert C. en
dc.date.accessioned 2021-02-05T03:02:45Z
dc.date.available 2021-02-05T03:02:45Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.citation Muletz-Wolz, Carly R., Wilson Rankin, Erin, McGrath-Blaser, Sarah, Venkatraman, Madhvi, Maldonado, Jesus E., Gruner, Daniel S., and Fleischer, Robert C. 2021. "<a href="https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/109215">Identification of novel bacterial biomarkers to detect bird scavenging by invasive rats</a>." <em>Ecology and Evolution</em>. 11 (4):1814&ndash;1828. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7171">https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7171</a> en
dc.identifier.issn 2045-7758
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10088/109215
dc.description.abstract Rapid advances in genomic tools for use in ecological contexts and non-model systems allow unprecedented insight into interactions that occur beyond direct observation. We developed an approach that couples microbial forensics with molecular dietary analysis to identify species interactions and scavenging by invasive rats on native and introduced birds in Hawaii. First, we characterized bacterial signatures of bird carcass decay by conducting 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing on chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) tissues collected over an 11-day decomposition study in natural Hawaiian habitats. Second, we determined if field-collected invasive black rats (Rattus rattus; n = 51, stomach and fecal samples) had consumed birds using molecular diet analysis with two independent PCR assays (mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I and Cytochrome b genes) and Sanger sequencing. Third, we characterized the gut microbiome of the same rats using 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing and identified 15 bacterial taxa that were (a) detected only in rats that consumed birds (n = 20/51) and (b) were indicative of decaying tissue in the chicken decomposition experiment. We found that 18% of rats (n = 9/51) likely consumed birds as carrion by the presence of bacterial biomarkers of decayed tissue in their gut microbiome. One species of native bird (Myadestes obscurus) and three introduced bird species (Lophura leucomelanos, Meleagris gallopavo, Zosterops japonicus) were detected in the rats&#39; diets, with individuals from these species (except L. nycthemera) likely consumed through scavenging. Bacterial biomarkers of bird carcass decay can persist through rat digestion and may serve as biomarkers of scavenging. Our approach can be used to reveal trophic interactions that are challenging to measure through direct observation. en
dc.relation.ispartof Ecology and Evolution en
dc.title Identification of novel bacterial biomarkers to detect bird scavenging by invasive rats en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.srbnumber 158308
dc.identifier.doi 10.1002/ece3.7171
rft.jtitle Ecology and Evolution
rft.volume 11
rft.issue 4
rft.spage 1814
rft.epage 1828
dc.description.SIUnit NZP en
dc.citation.spage 1814
dc.citation.epage 1828

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