Animal gastrointestinal tracts host rich and diverse microorganisms, and the microbial community could be affected by many factors including activity rhythm which responds to the timing of feces defecation. To test the effect of activity rhythm on fecal microbiota, we used non-invasive sampling method to collect the feces defecated in the morning (AM group) and afternoon (PM group) from a zoo rhesus macaque population. Then 16S rRNA sequencing technology was adopted to assess the microbial communities. The results showed i) the dominant phyla were Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Spirochaetace accounting for over 86 % of the richness of whole microbiota, ii) Ruminococcaceae, Prevotellaceae, Lactobacillaceae and Spirochaetaceae were together taken over 60% at family level, iii) Prevotella was the dominant genus, iv) the community richness at OTU and family levels and both community evenness and community diversity at OTU level of the AM group were significantly higher than that of the PM group, v) though no analyses could significantly differentiate the two groups, there were significant differences in specific taxonomic groups including genus Lactobacillus, families Lactobacillaceae and Rhodospirollaceae, and phylum Tenericutes, and vi) the ratio of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in AM group was lower than that in PM group. The finding suggested that the gut microbiota in zoo rhesus macaques could be synchronized with the activity rhythm and also could be non-exclusively affected by human disturbance.
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