Sarah Worsley

Post-doctoral research associate (2020-2023) Gut microbiome variation, fitness and senescence within a natural vertebrate population.

Based at the University of East Anglia. Collaboration with David Richardson, Matthew Hutchings and Hannah Dugdale. Supported by Nature Seychelles & NERC.

Almost all organisms interact with diverse communities of microorganisms that have coevolved with their hosts over evolutionary time. In animals, the complex community of microbial species living in the gut (the gut microbiome) has been shown to play an integral role in a wide range of processes including development, metabolism and immunity. As such, experimental studies have shown that disrupting the gut microbiome can have severe consequences for the health and fitness of the host. However, very few studies have investigated the causes and consequences of gut microbiome variation in natural populations. I am investigating the drivers of individual variation in the gut microbiome of the Seychelles Warbler and how this is linked to factors such as host survival and senescence. Understanding the heritability and fitness consequences of gut microbiome variation will give additional insight into the evolutionary potential of this microbial community in vertebrates.

Contact details: s.worsley AT uea.ac.uk

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