|Title||Reproductive microbiome of house sparrows|
|Supervisor(s)||Dr. Melissah Rowe
Department of Animal Ecology
Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO-KNAW
|Examiner(s)||Prof. Dr. Kees van Oers|
Animals live and evolve in a microbial world. Thus, it is hardly surprising that every animal hosts a diversity of microbial communities (i.e. microbiomes) in and on their bodies. Importantly, microbiomes are emerging as fundamental modulators of host biology. Studies of animal microbiomes have focused on the oral, gut, and skin microbiome, whereas relatively little is known about the reproductive microbiome (e.g. the microbiomes of the reproductive tract, genitalia, and reproductive fluids of males and females). Yet, reproductive microbiomes can have critical implications for host reproductive function and performance.
In this project, you will investigate the ejaculate microbiome of house sparrows using both molecular and culturing techniques. Samples have already been collected, but there may be opportunity for the collection of new samples (depending upon the timing of the student project). The project offers the opportunity to gain experience in a range of laboratory skills (e.g. DNA extraction, qPCR, bacterial culturing) and statistical analysis of microbiome data. Additionally, the student will develop their research skills and there is the opportunity to come up with research questions (within the scope of the project). Work will be developed in close collaboration with colleagues at NIOO in the Department of Microbial Ecology.