Microbes in the news #2

“Colder Temperatures Foster Greater Microbial Diversity on Amphibian Skin”

Science Daily. March 27, 2019


A new study by the University of Colorado Boulder sampled thousands of frogs across the world and looked at all of the microbes growing on their skin. They found that frogs living in warmer locations had much less diverse skin microbioms than those that lived in cooler climates. While we hav’nt talked about the microbioms of frogs we have recently discussed the microbiom on human skin, as well as the different factors that may efffect it.  I found this article interesting because I went against what I expected. I assumed that colder temeratures would be a limiting factor on bacterial growth so a warm climate would allow for more diversity. The researchers believe that a cooler climate slowed the growth of bacterial species and allowed many differnet species to take hold. Im warmer areas one fast growing species may be able to quickly out compete others, creating a less diverse community. While this is an extremely new study it seemed reliable. The research was preformed across a large time period and in many differnet areas on many differnt species of frogs. In addition, I found the article to be well written. The author connected the study to recent issues of mass frog die offs due to fungal skin infections. That gave a logical reason of why the University of Colorado would do such a massive study on the frog microbiome. I wonder how much of a temerature change a certain species of frog would have to experience before their microbiome was altered, and if this is already happening due to climate change.

2 Comments for “Microbes in the news #2”



This is a very interesting article! I think it makes since that slower development time allows more diverse bacterial communities to grow. In our lab experience in this class I noticed the plates I cultured at the beginning when I was still trying to isolate my strain had different results when grown at room temperature and 37 C. I also plated some samples of various surfaces and left them out at room temperature for a number of weeks, and while the growth was dominated by a single color or growth pattern the first four days or so after a couple of weeks there seemed to by a much more diverse ecosystem. I could not find an answer to your question specifically, but I did find a study that concluded that temperate fish that were exposed to a stressfully cold temperatures experienced a decrease in diversity in their gut microbiome. further analyses revealed when the gut microbe itself was subject to colder temperature it responded in a completely different way. They found the fish were selecting for microbes that were adapted for the cold, and this was reducing diversity. Maybe because it is a closed system. Further findings reviled the microbes was changing their gene expression reducing the expression of stress and defense response. I know this doesn’t help you out, but I thought it would be interesting to add to a narrative about temperatures effects on microbial communities.

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