The effect of diet on the gastrointestinal microbiome of juvenile rehabilitating green turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Autoři: Jennifer C. G. Bloodgood aff001;  Sonia M. Hernandez aff001;  Anitha Isaiah aff003;  Jan S. Suchodolski aff003;  Lisa A. Hoopes aff004;  Patrick M. Thompson aff005;  Thomas B. Waltzek aff005;  Terry M. Norton aff006
Působiště autorů: Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America aff001;  Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America aff002;  Gastrointestinal Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America aff003;  Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America aff004;  Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America aff005;  Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island Authority, Jekyll Island, Georgia, United States of America aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article


Threatened and endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are unique because as juveniles they recruit from pelagic to near-shore waters and shift from an omnivorous to primarily herbivorous diet (i.e. seagrass and algae). Nevertheless, when injured and ill animals are admitted to rehabilitation, animal protein (e.g. seafood) is often offered to combat poor appetite and emaciation. We examined how the fecal microbiome of juvenile green turtles changed in response to a dietary shift during rehabilitation. We collected fecal samples from January 2014 –January 2016 from turtles (N = 17) in rehabilitation at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and used next generation sequencing to analyze bacterial community composition. Samples were collected at admission, mid-rehabilitation, and recovery, which entailed a shift from a mixed seafood–vegetable diet at admission to a primarily herbivorous diet at recovery. The dominant phyla changed over time, from primarily Firmicutes (55.0%) with less Bacteroidetes (11.4%) at admission, to primarily Bacteroidetes (38.4%) and less Firmicutes (31.8%) at recovery. While the microbiome likely shifts with the changing health status of individuals, this consistent inversion of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes among individuals likely reflects the increased need for protein digestion, for which Bacteroidetes are important. Firmicutes are significant in metabolizing plant polysaccharides; thus, fewer Firmicutes may result in underutilization of wild diet items in released individuals. This study demonstrates the importance of transitioning rehabilitating green turtles to an herbivorous diet as soon as possible to afford them the best probability of survival.

Klíčová slova:

Antibiotics – Clostridium – Diet – Herbivory – Microbiome – Shannon index – Trophic interactions – Turtles


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