Table_1_Significant Differences in Bacterial and Potentially Pathogenic Communities Between Sympatric Hooded Crane and Greater White-Fronted Goose.DOCX

The gut microbiota of vertebrates play a crucial role in shaping the health of their hosts. However, knowledge of the avian intestinal microbiota has arguably lagged behind that of many other vertebrates. Here, we examine the intestinal bacterial communities of the hooded crane and the greater white-fronted goose at the Shengjin Lake of China, using high-throughput sequencing (Illumina Mi-Seq), and infer the potential pathogens associated with each species. Intestinal bacterial alpha-diversity in the greater white-fronted goose was significantly higher than that in hooded crane. The intestinal bacterial community compositions were significantly different between the two hosts, suggesting that host interactions with specific communities might have profound implications. In addition, potential pathogens were detected in both guts of the two hosts, suggesting that these wild birds might be at risk of disease and probably spread infectious disease to other sympatric vertebrates. The gut of hooded crane carried more potential pathogens than that of the greater white-fronted goose. The potentially pathogenic community compositions were also significantly different between the two hosts, suggesting the divergence of potentially pathogenic communities between hooded crane, and greater white-fronted goose. Finally, bacterial and potentially pathogenic structures showed strong evidence of phylogenic clustering in both hosts, further demonstrating that each host was associated with preferential and defined bacterial and potentially pathogenic communities. Our results argue that more attention should be paid to investigate avian intestinal pathogens which might increase disease risks for conspecifics and other mixed species, and even poultry and human beings.