Gastrointestinal symbiont communities of great apes: bioindicators for tropical ecosystem health (2022–2024)

Číslo projektu 22-16475S
I. číslo G347
Období 1. 1. 2022 — 31. 12. 2024

The overall goal of the project is to investigate if changes in biodiversity and anthropogenic disturbance leading to fragmentation of habitats and wildlife populations have an impact on the symbiont communities of African great apes, sentinels of tropical ecosystem health. Our ambition is to use the HTS based metagenomic approaches to investigate not only prokaryotic (bacterial), but also selected eukaryotic (Entamoeba, strongylids) communities within gut ecosystem of Eastern gorillas and Eastern chimpanzees inhabiting model sites in the Albertine Rift, the area with the highest biodiversity in Africa. Using already generated data and bioarchived material from the Western gorillas and chimpanzees inhabiting forest ecosystems in Congo basin we will examine if the trends observed in ape gut symbionts across the Albertine Rift will be comparable to those in apes living in Congo forests. We aim to implement monitoring of symbiont communities of great apes as useful bioindicators for ecosystem health assessment and predicting risks of emerging infectious disease outbreaks.