Ecological community analyses of small mammal microbiomes

Advisor: Karl Cottenie, Integrative Biology

The Earth Microbiome Project sampled over a 100 microbial communities across the globe in a standardized fashion. The publication provides a clear and comprehensive description of the data set, and an analysis of broad, ecological patterns present in the large data set, such as alpha and beta diversity in the different types of microbial communities (marine versus terrestrial versus plant-associated versus animal-associated versus …). However, the extensive data set could be analyzed for several other, more specific, ecological questions.
Based on the interest and background of the MBinf student, this project would test specific ecological questions with a subset of this standardized dataset. For instance, I would be interested in analysing within-population versus between-population versus between-host species beta diversity of gut microbiomes in small mammals, spatial autocorrelation in gut microbiomes of small mammals, or neutral patterns such as indicated in this article
https://www.nature.com/articles/ismej2015142.