Discipline: Biological Sciences
Emmanuel P. Flores - California State University, Fresno
Co-Author(s): Tricia Van Laar, CSU Fresno, Fresno; Alejandro Calderon-Urrea, CSU Fresno, Fresno; Scott Barton, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Fresno
Non-potable water is typically sourced from rain runoff from driveways and roofs, gray water, and recycled water. As a result, non-potable water potentially contains high concentrations of chemical, mineral, or bacterial concentrations and is deemed unsafe for drinking. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo intends to switch water sources to minimize adverse health exposure to its animal and transition to water provided by the City of Fresno.
In this study we are focused on the microbiota of soil, water, and feces in the African Adventure Exhibit of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. We intend to compare the microbiota population pre- and post-switch to non-potable water. We predict a greater microbiota diversity in fecal samples collected prior to the transition compared to those collected post transition to potable water. Ultimately, we hope to observe significant changes in the population of the microbiota caused by the modification of water supply.
Fecal samples were collected and stored in our lab freezer at a temperature of -80 degrees Celsius. Bacterial DNA was extracted using a Fisher Scientific: SurePrepTM Soil DNA Isolation Kit. The extracted DNA was sent out for 16S rDNA and ITS-2 sequencing. Furthermore, the Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology 2 (QIIME 2) pipeline will be used to characterize the bacterial and fungal population composition and diversity to determine the changes in microbiota over time following the switch to non-potable water. So far our results have shown that we have extracted bacterial DNA from our pre-switch samples indicating that we can characterize the gut microbiota before the switch to non-potable water has occurred. We are currently waiting for the switch to non-potable water to occur to collect those samples. We expect to compare bacterial communities to the genus level using defined Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) to list bacterial diversity using QIIME software. Moreover, we intend to compare fecal samples before and after water transition to determine whether a significant effect was observed on bacterial and fungal communities using alpha diversity statistical testing.
Future research questions in regard to this project will lead to discussion on the accuracy and reliability of the QIIME 2 bioinformatics pipeline used for microbiome analysis alongside whether a change in water supply can have a significant effect on the respective immune systems of zoo animals.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): CSU Fresno
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Van Laar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: So far for this study I have collected fecal, soil, and grass samples from the zoo. I have performed DNA extraction to isolate bacterial DNA. Lastly, I have performed PCR and gel electrophoresis to check for the quality of the isolated DNA.