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Appears in Collections:Aquaculture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A comparative study of the fecal microbiota of gray seal pups and yearlings ‐ a marine mammal sentinel species
Author(s): Watkins, Craig A
Gaines, Taylor
Strathdee, Fiona
Baily, Johanna L
Watson, Eleanor
Hall, Ailsa J
Free, Andrew
Dagleish, Mark P
Keywords: fecal microbiota
gray seal
Issue Date: Jun-2022
Date Deposited: 8-Jun-2022
Citation: Watkins CA, Gaines T, Strathdee F, Baily JL, Watson E, Hall AJ, Free A & Dagleish MP (2022) A comparative study of the fecal microbiota of gray seal pups and yearlings ‐ a marine mammal sentinel species. MicrobiologyOpen, 11 (3), Art. No.: e1281.
Abstract: Gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) can act as sentinel species reflecting the condition of the environment they inhabit. Our previous research identified strains of pathogenic Campylobacter and Salmonella, originating from both human and agricultural animal hosts, on rectal swabs from live gray seal (H. grypus) pups and yearlings on the Isle of May, Scotland, UK. We examined rectal swabs from the same pup (n = 90) and yearling (n = 19) gray seals to gain further understanding into the effects of age-related changes (pup vs. yearling) and three different natal terrestrial habitats on seal pup fecal microbiota. DNA was extracted from a subset of rectal swabs (pups n = 23, yearlings n = 9) using an optimized procedure, and the V4 region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene was sequenced to identify each individual's microbiota. Diversity in pup samples was lower (3.92 ± 0.19) than yearlings (4.66 ± 0.39) although not significant at the p = 0.05 level (p = 0.062) but differences in the composition of the microbiota were (p 
DOI Link: 10.1002/mbo3.1281
Rights: © 2022 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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