Habitat Elevation Shapes Microbial Community Composition and Alter the Metabolic Functions in Wild Sable (Martes zibellina) Guts
School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dongchuan Road 800, Shanghai 200240, China
Instrumental Analysis Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dongchuan Road 800, Shanghai 200240, China
Institute of Wild Animals, Heilongjiang Academy of Forestry, Haping Road 134, Harbin 150081, China
College of Wildlife and Protected Area, Northeast Forestry University, Hexing Road 26, Harbin 150040, China
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Helsinki, Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti, Finland
Shanghai Yangtze River Delta Eco-Environmental Change and Management Observation and Research Station, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, 800 Dongchuan Rd, Shanghai 200240, China
Shanghai Urban Forest Ecosystem Research Station, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, 800 Dongchuan Rd., Shanghai 200240, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally to the manuscript.
Academic Editor: Robert Li
Received: 18 February 2021
Revised: 10 March 2021
Accepted: 14 March 2021
Published: 18 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife
Environmental changes of habitat shaped the sable (Carnivora Mustelidae Martes zibellina) gut microbial community structure and altered the functions of gut microbiota, showing that the wild sable gut microbial community diversity was resilient and responded to environment change. Elevated habitat is a pivotal factor for wild sable survival and reproduction, and the adaptability is in part enabled through their gut microbial communities. Our observations show that despite having been forced to migrate from low altitudes to high altitudes because of anthropogenic habitat encroachment, wild sables showed robustness in adapting to harsh conditions. Additionally, we propose that the crucial factor enabling wild sables to survive in changeable environments was their gut microbial communities. It is widely understood that harsh conditions, such as high altitude and low temperature environments, have an adverse effect on wild fauna survival. However, our results suggested that increasing altitude can enhance some functions in wild sable gut microbial communities.