High-Throughput DNA Sequencing of the Ruminal Bacteria from Moose (Alces alces) in Vermont, Alaska, and Norway
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In the present study, the rumen bacteria of moose (Alces alces) from three distinct geographic locations were investigated. Moose are large, browsing ruminants in the deer family, which subsist on fibrous, woody browse, and aquatic plants. Subspecies exist which are distinguished by differing body and antler size, and these are somewhat geographically isolated. Seventeen rumen samples were collected from moose in Vermont, Alaska, and Norway, and bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes were sequenced using Roche 454 pyrosequencing with titanium chemistry. Overall, 109,643 sequences were generated from the 17 individual samples, revealing 33,622 unique sequences. Members of the phylum Bacteroidetes were dominant in samples from Alaska and Norway, but representatives of the phylum Firmicutes were dominant in samples from Vermont. Within the phylum Bacteroidetes, Prevotellaceae was the dominant family in all three sample locations, most of which belonged to the genus Prevotella. Within the phylum Firmicutes, the family Lachnospiraceae was the most prevalent in all three sample locations. The data set supporting the results of this article is available in the Sequence Read Archive (SRA), available through NCBI [study accession number SRP022590]. Samples clustered by geographic location and by weight and were heterogenous based on gender, location, and weight class (p < 0.05). Location was a stronger factor in determining the core microbiome than either age or weight, but gender did not appear to be a strong factor. There were no shared operational taxonomic units across all 17 samples, which indicates that these moose may have been isolated long enough to preclude a core microbiome among moose. Other potential factors discussed include differences in climate, food quality and availability, gender, and life cycle.
KeywordsProteobacteria Unique Sequence Firmicutes Bacteroidetes Weight Class
The authors would like to acknowledge the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for sample collection logistics; Terry Clifford, Archie Foster, Lenny Gerardi, Ralph Loomis, Beth and John Mayer, and Rob Whitcomb for collection of Vermont moose samples; Dr. Even Jørgensen, University of Tromsø, and Dr. Helge K. Johnsen, University of Tromsø, for collection of Norwegian moose samples; Dr. Monica A. Sunset, University of Tromsø, for facilitating sample collection and storage, as well as for providing DNA extraction materials for the Norwegian samples; Dr. John Crouse and Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, both of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for collection of Alaskan moose samples; and Dr. Benoit St-Pierre, University of Vermont for assistance with MOTHUR and Perl programming.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no competing interests.
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