Microbial transmission in animal social networks and the social microbiome

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dc.contributor.author Sarkar, Amar
dc.contributor.author Harty, Siobhan
dc.contributor.author Johnson, Katerina V.A.
dc.contributor.author Moeller, Andrew H.
dc.contributor.author Archie, Elizabeth A.
dc.contributor.author Schell, Laura D.
dc.contributor.author Carmody, Rachel N.
dc.contributor.author Clutton-Brock, Tim H.
dc.contributor.author Dunbar, Robin I.M.
dc.contributor.author Burnet, Philip W.J.
dc.date.accessioned 2021-02-22T11:06:47Z
dc.date.available 2021-02-22T11:06:47Z
dc.date.issued 2020-08
dc.description Figure 1 – Social Microbiomes as Biological Archipelagos: Each island represents a host that is colonised by microbes, and in group-living species these hosts form ‘archipelagos’ for microbes. The central question is how the arrangement of islands affects microbial dispersal between them. Metacommunity theory and island biogeography theory can be applied to both sets of islands shown here. On the left is a representation of a spatially implicit model which ignores the effects of space, represented by islands that are evenly distributed to convey the idea that migration is equally likely between all islands (note that it is not possible to represent spatial distributions in the implicit model using two dimensions). This model does not account for the intrinsic social organisation of many animal species. In contrast, the social microbiome concept places social constraints on the organisation of host populations, yielding the island structure on the right (multiple, spatially distinct archipelagos), consistent with the idea of a spatially explicit model. en_ZA
dc.description Figure 2 – Processes at Different Scales Influencing the Social Microbiome. At each scale, processes can affect microbial dispersal and selection, both of which can affect microbiome structure and function within individual hosts. Levels 1 to 5 describe the effects of individual-, intragroup-, intergroup-, intraspecies-, and interspecies interactions on the social microbiome. Level 1 encompasses individual social interactions within a group. Level 2 describes group characteristics that influence Level 1 interactions. Level 3 considers interactions between social groups of conspecifics. Level 4 captures differences between populations or species and the effects of the physical environment. Level 5 describes interactions between host species that inhabit the same physical environment. All levels are hypothesised to influence the microbial metacommunity of a host social group.
dc.description Figure 3 - Effect of Immigration on the Social Microbiome: Here, we show two hypothetical meerkat mobs, with the orange and blue ovals representing two distinct social microbiomes. Within each mob, there is a dominant female (represented by the largest animal in each group). There are also smaller subgroups of individuals that may interact more frequently with one another, and collectively engage in rearing the dominant female’s offspring. The group in between the two mobs represents a coalition migrating from the orange mob to the neighbouring blue mob (indicated by the orange-blue shaded arrow next to the group). During assimilation into the new mob, the migrants’ microbial composition is expected to change as a result of microbial transmission via social interactions with the new group. In addition, we predict that as the number of migrating individuals increases, so does the effect on the social microbiomes of both the natal group (right hand side, lower graph) and the receiving group (right hand side, lower graph).
dc.description.abstract Host-associated microbiomes play an increasingly appreciated role in animal metabolism, immunity and health. The microbes in turn depend on their host for resources and can be transmitted across the host’s social network. In this Perspective, we describe how animal social interactions and networks may provide channels for microbial transmission. We propose the ‘social microbiome’ as the microbial metacommunity of an animal social group. We then consider the various social and environmental forces that are likely to influence the social microbiome at multiple scales, including at the individual level, within social groups, between groups, within populations and species, and finally between species. Through our comprehensive discussion of the ways in which sociobiological and ecological factors may affect microbial transmission, we outline new research directions for the field. en_ZA
dc.description.department Mammal Research Institute en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2021-06-22
dc.description.librarian hj2021 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University; a Miller Research Fellowship from the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science at the University of California, Berkeley; the National Science Foundation; the William F. Milton Fund, Harvard Dean's Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship; a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation; National Institutes of Health; European Research Council; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Council Industrial Partnership Award and research funds from Clasado Biosciences Ltd. en_ZA
dc.description.uri https://www.nature.com/natecolevol en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Sarkar, A., Harty, S., Johnson, K.VA. et al. Microbial transmission in animal social networks and the social microbiome. Nature Ecology & Evolution 4, 1020–1035 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1220-8. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2397-334X (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1038/s41559-020-1220-8
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/78790
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Nature Publising Group en_ZA
dc.rights © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2020. en_ZA
dc.subject Animal behaviour en_ZA
dc.subject Biogeography en_ZA
dc.subject Community ecology en_ZA
dc.subject Microbial ecology en_ZA
dc.subject Social behaviour en_ZA
dc.title Microbial transmission in animal social networks and the social microbiome en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA


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