Advisor Information

James Wilson

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

3-3-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

3-3-2017 3:30 PM

Abstract

The microflora living within the Ord’s kangaroo rat (Dipodymis ordii) cheek pouches has never been extensively studied before. Kangaroo rats use their cheek pouches to transport seeds and grasses in their mouths that they later store. It is predicted that the cheek pouches harbor fungal and bacterial growth that could be either helpful or harmful to the kangaroo rat and its environment. 8 kangaroo rats were humanely captured using Sherman live traps in the Nebraska Sandhills; their cheek pouches were swabbed, and the microorganisms obtained were grown on agar plates and in liquid media until an adequate amount of DNA could be harvested. PCR was then used in order to analyze 16 rDNA sequences to identify the species of microflora. 24 bacterial samples and 7 fungal samples were successfully identified using genome software. About one-third of the species identified could be potentially harmful to either the kangaroo rat or plants in their environment. About two-thirds of the species identified are non-pathogenic or have a positive effect on plants in the Nebraska Sandhills. This lends to the idea that the Ord’s kangaroo rat could possibly be a habitat engineer that affects the plants in its community by spreading both beneficial and pathogenic species of bacteria and fungi. Overall, a wide variety of both helpful and harmful species of microflora were found within the cheek pouches of the Ord’s kangaroo rat.

Comments

Winner of Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Presentation

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Mar 3rd, 2:15 PM Mar 3rd, 3:30 PM

Microflora in the cheek pouches of Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) from the Nebraska Sandhills

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

The microflora living within the Ord’s kangaroo rat (Dipodymis ordii) cheek pouches has never been extensively studied before. Kangaroo rats use their cheek pouches to transport seeds and grasses in their mouths that they later store. It is predicted that the cheek pouches harbor fungal and bacterial growth that could be either helpful or harmful to the kangaroo rat and its environment. 8 kangaroo rats were humanely captured using Sherman live traps in the Nebraska Sandhills; their cheek pouches were swabbed, and the microorganisms obtained were grown on agar plates and in liquid media until an adequate amount of DNA could be harvested. PCR was then used in order to analyze 16 rDNA sequences to identify the species of microflora. 24 bacterial samples and 7 fungal samples were successfully identified using genome software. About one-third of the species identified could be potentially harmful to either the kangaroo rat or plants in their environment. About two-thirds of the species identified are non-pathogenic or have a positive effect on plants in the Nebraska Sandhills. This lends to the idea that the Ord’s kangaroo rat could possibly be a habitat engineer that affects the plants in its community by spreading both beneficial and pathogenic species of bacteria and fungi. Overall, a wide variety of both helpful and harmful species of microflora were found within the cheek pouches of the Ord’s kangaroo rat.