Community level microbiome variation
Several factors shape the microbiome. In natural systems, attempting to disentangle the different influences on the gut microbiome has been difficult. One approach is to study animals that co-occur with the idea that when multiple species are exposed to similar environmental pressures, species-level variation of the microbiome might become more prominent.
During my PhD, I had the privilege of working in the Ungulate Rainfall Under Herbivory (UHURU) experiment at Mpala. The exclusion of large mammals leads to an increase in the number of small mammals creating the perfect condition to explore the microbiome of multiple co-occurring species (see below).