The Composition of Gut Microbiota Community Structure of Jankowski’s Bunting (Emberiza jankowskii)


Gut microbiota play a central role in the health of animals. The bacteria that individuals acquire as they age may therefore have a profound effect on their future fitness. Since most birds are capable of flight, they can be widely distributed in and adapted to various ecosystems. Moreover, birds are also challenged by the need to digest a wide range of food resources in their guts. However, little is known regarding how the microbial community structure in birds, especially wild birds, changes with host age. Here, we used high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA V3–V4 region to depict the microbial composition and structure in the adults and nestlings of Jankowski’s bunting (Emberiza jankowskii), an endangered species of bird, during the breeding season. The results showed that the phyla Proteobacteria (52.45%), Firmicutes (13.87%), Bacteroidetes (5.76%), Actinobacteria (4.95%), Planctomycetes (4.36%), Euryarchaeota (3.20%), Acidobacteria (2.59%), Fusobacteria (2.24%), and Chloroflexi (1.8%) dominated the gut microbial communities in Jankowski’s bunting. There was no significant difference in the alpha diversity and richness among different age groups. There was also no significant difference in species richness and diversity between the nestlings and adults. However, we observed different bacterial compositions at the genus level. The genera Photobacterium and Brochothrix were detected only in the nestling groups (at days 3, 6, and 9), while Diplorickettsia was detected only in the adult group. In summary, this study can provide additional information regarding the intestinal microorganisms of wild passerine and grassland birds and provide theoretical evidence for methods to protect Jankowski’s bunting.

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Correspondence to Yunlei Jiang.

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This study conformed to the guidelines for the care and use of experimental animals established by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (Approval number: 2006-398). The research protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Committee of Jilin Agriculture University.

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Shang, W., Li, S., Zhang, L. et al. The Composition of Gut Microbiota Community Structure of Jankowski’s Bunting (Emberiza jankowskii). Curr Microbiol 77, 3731–3737 (2020).

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