Microbiome of native Australian mammals
Animals live in a microbial world.
Trillions of microorganisms inhabit animals and perform key functions for the host, including the digestion of recalcitrant diets, detoxification, development of the immune system, resilience against pathogens, and possibly even behavioural regulation.
Evidence suggests that some microorganisms are transmitted vertically, and have been coevolving with their animal hosts for millions of years. In shorter timeframes, it is thought that microbiomes can confer more rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions than host genomes.
In light of the importance of the microbiome to host adaptation and health, most microbiome research to date has focused on humans. However, there is a growing interest in understanding the ecology and evolution of animal microbiomes.
There are honours projects available to study the microbiomes of our native Australian mammals. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss potential projects.