Effects of immune supplementation and immune challenge on bacterial assemblages in the avian cloaca

Kevin D. Matson*, Maaike A. Versteegh, Marco van der Velde, B. Irene Tieleman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Relationships between avian physiology and bacterial assemblages in the cloaca are poorly understood. We used molecular techniques to analyze cloacal swabs from pigeons that were subjected to two immunological manipulations: lysozyme supplementation and endotoxin challenge. From the swabs, we derived ecological indices of evenness, richness, and diversity of bacterial assemblages. Challenge led to changes in evenness that depended on supplementation. When analyzing these changes, we neutralized the effects of a possible statistical artifact by including the starting values as a covariate. Repeatability calculations suggested that swabbing reliably captured the evenness but not the richness or diversity of bacterial assemblages in the cloaca.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2015


  • Microbial ecology
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Physiology
  • Columba livia
  • Cloacal swab

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