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AB prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00729

Gut microbiota variations in a rescued spotted seal (Phoca largha) pup

Jiashen Tian, Jing Du, Jiabo Han, Zhen Wang, Zhiyu Fu, Zhichuang Lu*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Rescuing seal pups is an important conservation approach for spotted seals (Phoca largha). Gut microbiota are directly associated with host health and diet metabolism. Therefore, knowledge gained from gut microbiota variations of spotted seal pups during rescue can help formulate comprehensive rescue plans for the future. In this study, we collected feces from a rescued spotted seal pup every three days during the rescue process. Fecal bacterial communities were measured by high-throughput sequencing based on 16S rRNA amplification. Firmicutes were the most dominant bacteria, occupying > 70% of the total gut microbiota. Moreover, differences in fecal bacterial communities of the rescued spotted seal pup between initial rescue and release were compared. At release, the abundances of two potential bacteria related to the gut health, Blautia producta and Cetobacterium somerae were remarkably decreased, while Clostridium perfringens, a key mammalian pathogen, was significantly increased in the feces of the rescued pup. Moreover, we observed diarrhea during the rescue period, which resulted in a momentary change in the gut microbiota. Fusobacterium was recognized as a potential causative pathogen for the diarrhea. This study contributes to our understanding of gut microbiota variations in spotted seal pups during the rescue period.