Circadian rhythms of hosts and their gut microbiomes: Implications for animal physiology and ecology

Schmid, D. W., Capilla Lasheras, P. , Dominoni, D. M. , Müller‐Klein, N., Sommer, S. and Risely, A. (2023) Circadian rhythms of hosts and their gut microbiomes: Implications for animal physiology and ecology. Functional Ecology, (doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.14255)

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Daily light–dark cycles shape the circadian physiology and behaviour of nearly all organisms, with variation in circadian phenotypes having cascading effects on individual fitness, species interactions and species co‐evolution. Recent evidence that circadian rhythms in host immunity and metabolism are synchronised by the gut microbiota suggest that the circadian dynamics of gut microbes are a crucial component of their function. However, there remains little knowledge or understanding of the diurnal dynamics of gut microbiomes in natural populations or the consequences for host physiology and ecology. Here, we summarise the hallmarks of gut microbiota oscillations reported to date and the mechanisms by which they synchronise rhythms in host immunity and metabolism. We outline the consequences for diverse biological processes such as host pathogen susceptibility and seasonal switches in metabolism, and discuss how the breakdown of these circadian interactions, for example during senescence or because of light pollution, may affect wildlife infection risk and disease. We also provide practical guidelines for the measurement of microbial oscillations in wildlife, highlighting that whilst faecal samples of wild animals are rarely available over a 24‐h period, characterising even parts of the gut microbial cycle can be informative. An improved understanding of how gut microbial diurnal rhythms manifest in wildlife is essential to fully comprehend their role in shaping variation in host circadian phenotypes and the consequences for host physiology and ecology. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dominoni, Dr Davide and Capilla Lasheras, Dr Pablo
Authors: Schmid, D. W., Capilla Lasheras, P., Dominoni, D. M., Müller‐Klein, N., Sommer, S., and Risely, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Functional Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-2435
Published Online:05 January 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Functional Ecology 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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