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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Acetobacter to Lactobacillus Ratios within Drosophila Melanogaster Microbiota, Diet and Environment Across a Latitudinal Range

Presenter: Amanda Morrison, College of Life Sciences, Plant and Wild Life Sciences
Authors: Amanda Morrison
Faculty Advisor: John Chaston, College of Life Sciences, Plant and Wildlife Sciences
Institution: Brigham Young University

In order to better understand the microbiome, Drosophila melanogaster has been studied as a model organism. Patterns have been linked between abundance of various microbes within the gut, the flies’ geographic locations, and variation in the life history traits the flies display. The two organisms of interest form two groups: acetic acid bacteria (AAB) and lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The purpose of my research is to better understand why Drosophila microbiota varies with geography. We know from previous work that flies in northern latitudes will have a high concentration of LAB than AAB in their microbiome while flies in southern latitudes, have more AAB than LAB. The reason for this is unknown. I hypothesize that the microbiota of the flies is driven by environmental factors that come from living in different geographical locations. To test this hypothesis, I will collect flies from five peach orchards here in Utah, along with samples of their immediate environments including diet, soil, and water samples if available. If the flies’ microbiota covaries with geographic microbiota, then we know that the environment effects the composition of Drosophila microbiota. If this is not the case then we know that other factors at play.