• Diet Versus Phylogeny: a Comparison of Gut Microbiota in Captive Colobine Monkey Species

      Hale, Vanessa L; Tan, Chia L.; Niu, Kefeng; Yang, Yeqin; Knight, Rob; Zhang, Qikun; Cui, Duoying; Amato, Katherine R (2018)
      Both diet and host phylogeny shape the gut microbial community, and separating out the effects of these variables can be challenging. In this study, high-throughput sequencing was used to evaluate the impact of diet and phylogeny on the gut microbiota of nine colobine monkey species (N = 64 individuals)....
    • Dietary ecology of the Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti)

      Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J.; Doudja, Roger; Kentatchime, Fabrice; Mba, Flaubert; Dadjo, Alvine; Venditti, Dana M.; Mitchell, Matthew W.; Fosso, Bernard; Mounga, Albert; et al. (2020)
      Examining the diets of primate populations inhabiting different habitat types could be useful in understanding local adaptation and divergence between these populations. In Cameroon, the Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is subdivided into two genetically distinct populations that occupy different habitat types; one occurs in forests to the west and the other in a forest–woodland–savanna mosaic (ecotone) in the center of the country....
    • Geographic comparison of plant genera used in frugivory among the pitheciids Cacajao, Callicebus, Chiropotes, and Pithecia

      Boyle, Sarah A.; Thompson, Cynthia L.; Deluycker, Anneke; Alvarez, Silvia J.; Alvim, Thiago H.G.; Aquino, Rolando; Bezerra, Bruna M.; Boubli, Jean P.; Bowler, Mark; Caselli, Christini Barbosa; et al. (2016)
      Pitheciids are known for their frugivorous diets, but there has been no broad-scale comparison of fruit genera used by these primates that range across five geographic regions in South America. We compiled 31 fruit lists from data collected from 18 species (three Cacajao, six Callicebus, five Chiropotes, and four Pithecia) at 26 study sites in six countries. Together, these lists contained 455 plant genera from 96 families. We predicted that 1) closely related Chiropotes and Cacajao would demonstrate the greatest similarity in fruit lists; 2) pitheciids living in closer geographic proximity would have greater similarities in fruit lists; and 3) fruit genus richness would be lower in lists from forest fragments than continuous forests. Fruit genus richness was greatest for the composite Chiropotes list, even though Pithecia had the greatest overall sampling effort. We also found that the Callicebus composite fruit list had lower similarity scores in comparison with the composite food lists of the other three genera (both within and between geographic areas). Chiropotes and Pithecia showed strongest similarities in fruit lists, followed by sister taxa Chiropotes and Cacajao. Overall, pitheciids in closer proximity had more similarities in their fruit list, and this pattern was evident in the fruit lists for both Callicebus and Chiropotes. There was no difference in the number of fruit genera used by pitheciids in habitat fragments and continuous forest. Our findings demonstrate that pitheciids use a variety of fruit genera, but phylogenetic and geographic patterns in fruit use are not consistent across all pitheciid genera. This study represents the most extensive examination of pitheciid fruit consumption to date, but future research is needed to investigate the extent to which the trends in fruit genus richness noted here are attributable to habitat differences among study sites, differences in feeding ecology, or a combination of both. Am. J. Primatol. 78:493–506, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    • Using the gut microbiota as a novel tool for examining colobine primate GI health

      Amato, Katherine R.; Metcalf, Jessica L.; Song, Se Jin; Hale, Vanessa L.; Clayton, Jonathan; Ackermann, Gail; Humphrey, Greg; Niu, Kefeng; Cui, Duoying; Zhao, Hongxia; et al. (2016)
      Primates of the Colobinae subfamily are highly folivorous. They possess a sacculated foregut and are believed to rely on a specialized gut microbiota to extract sufficient energy from their hard-to-digest diet. Although many colobines are endangered and would benefit from captive breeding programs, maintaining healthy captive populations of colobines can be difficult since they commonly suffer from morbidity and mortality due to gastrointestinal (GI) distress of unknown cause. While there is speculation that this GI distress may be associated with a dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, no study has directly examined the role of the gut microbiota in colobine GI health. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing to examine the gut microbiota of three genera of colobines housed at the San Diego Zoo: doucs (Pygathrix) (N=7), colobus monkeys (Colobus) (N=4), and langurs (Trachypithecus) (N=5). Our data indicated that GI-healthy doucs, langurs, and colobus monkeys possess a distinct gut microbiota. In addition, GI-unhealthy doucs exhibited a different gut microbiota compared to GI-healthy individuals, including reduced relative abundances of anti-inflammatory Akkermansia. Finally, by comparing samples from wild and captive Asian colobines, we found that captive colobines generally exhibited higher relative abundances of potential pathogens such as Desulfovibrio and Methanobrevibacter compared to wild colobines, implying an increased risk of gut microbial dysbiosis. Together, these results suggest an association between the gut microbiota and GI illness of unknown cause in doucs. Further studies are necessary to corroborate these findings and determine cause-and-effect relationships. Additionally, we found minimal variation in the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota along the colobine GI tract, suggesting that fecal samples may be sufficient for describing the colobine gut microbiota. If these findings can be validated in wild individuals, it will facilitate the rapid expansion of colobine gut microbiome research.