Low-level environmental metal pollution is associated with altered gut microbiota of a wild rodent, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus)
Brila, I., Lavrinienko, A., Tukalenko, E., Ecke, F., Rodushkin, I., Kallio, E. R., Mappes, T., & Watts, P. C. (2021). Low-level environmental metal pollution is associated with altered gut microbiota of a wild rodent, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Science of the Total Environment, 790, Article 148224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148224
Published inScience of the Total Environment
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaResurssiviisausyhteisöEcology and Evolutionary BiologySchool of Resource Wisdom
© 2021 the Authors
Mining and related industries are a major source of metal pollution. In contrast to the well-studied effects of exposure to metals on animal physiology and health, the impacts of environmental metal pollution on the gut microbiota of wild animals are virtually unknown. As the gut microbiota is a key component of host health, it is important to understand whether metal pollution can alter wild animal gut microbiota composition. Using a combination of 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and quantification of metal levels in kidneys, we assessed whether multi-metal exposure (the sum of normalized levels of fifteen metals) was associated with changes in gut microbiota of wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from two locations in Finland. Exposure to increased metal load was associated with higher gut microbiota species diversity (α-diversity) and altered community composition (β-diversity), but not dispersion. Multi-metal exposure and increased levels of several metals (Cd, Hg, Pb and Se) were associated with differences in the abundance of microbial taxa, especially those within the families Clostridiales vadinBB60 group, Desulfovibrionaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Muribaculaceae and Ruminococcaceae. Our data indicate that even low-level metal pollution can affect the diversity of microbiota and be associated with deterministic differences in composition of host gut microbiota in wild animal populations. These findings highlight the need to study a broader range of metals and their cocktails that are more representative of the types of environmental exposure experienced by wild animals. ...
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Research costs of Academy Research Fellow, AoF; Joint International Project, AoF; Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Kvantum Institute at the University of Oulu, BiodivERsA, Belmont Forum, Academy of Finland and the Swedish Research Council Formas (project numbers 329334 and 326534 to PCW, 329308 to ERK, 268670 and 324605 to TM, grant number 2018-02427 to FE).
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