Faculty Sponsor

Sarah Boomer and Michael Baltzley




The “Brown Garden Snail,” Cornu aspersum is a widely distributed land snail, whose consumption of soil to acquire calcium results in soil microbes colonizing their gut. While previous work has utilized culture-based approaches to analyze the gut microbiota of C. aspersum, no previous studies have used high throughput DNA sequencing, or examined the changes in the gut microbiota over time in response to antibiotics exposure. In this study, we use 16S amplicon sequencing and fecal plating to characterize the gut microbiota of C. aspersum, and to monitor changes in their microbiota over time after a short penicillin treatment. We found that the natural gut microbiota of C. aspersum is dominated by Gammaproteobacteria, and that a two day penicillin treatment reduces Gammaproteobacteria to one representative family, the Pseudomonadales. While the gut microbiota recovers some of its diversity following cessation of penicillin treatment, the incomplete recovery suggest that C. aspersa may depend on soil consumption, and potentially coprophagy, to exogenously maintain a diverse gut microbiota.

the_gut_microbiota_of_cornu_aspersum_revised_final(Comments).pdf (1357 kB)
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