Title
Sexually transmitted bacteria affect female cloacal assemblages in a wild bird Sexually transmitted bacteria affect female cloacal assemblages in a wild bird
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
Chemistry
Biology
Source (journal)
Ecology letters. - Oxford, 1998, currens
Volume/pages
13(2010) :12 , p. 1515-1524
ISSN
1461-023X
1461-0248
ISI
000284369200007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Sexual transmission is an important mode of disease propagation, yet its mechanisms remain largely unknown in wild populations. Birds comprise an important model for studying sexually transmitted microbes because their cloaca provides a potential for both gastrointestinal pathogens and endosymbionts to become incorporated into ejaculates. We experimentally demonstrate in a wild population of kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) that bacteria are transmitted during copulation and affect the composition and diversity of female bacterial communities. We used an anti-insemination device attached to males in combination with a molecular technique (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis) that describes bacterial communities. After inseminations were experimentally blocked, the cloacal communities of mates became increasingly dissimilar. Moreover, female cloacal diversity decreased and the extinction of mate-shared bacteria increased, indicating that female cloacal assemblages revert to their pre-copulatory state and that the cloaca comprises a resilient microbial ecosystem.
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