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  1. Abstract Background Inter-population variation in host-associated microbiota reflects differences in the hosts’ environments, but this characterization is typically based on studies comparing few populations. The diversity of natural habitats and captivity conditions occupied by any given host species has not been captured in these comparisons. Moreover, intraspecific variation in gut microbiota, generally attributed to diet, may also stem from differential acquisition of environmental microbes—an understudied mechanism by which host microbiomes are directly shaped by environmental microbes. To more comprehensively characterize gut microbiota in an ecologically flexible host, the ring-tailed lemur ( Lemur catta ; n = 209), while also investigating the rolemore »of environmental acquisition, we used 16S rRNA sequencing of lemur gut and soil microbiota sampled from up to 13 settings, eight in the wilderness of Madagascar and five in captivity in Madagascar or the U.S. Based on matched fecal and soil samples, we used microbial source tracking to examine covariation between the two types of consortia. Results The diversity of lemur gut microbes varied markedly within and between settings. Microbial diversity was not consistently greater in wild than in captive lemurs, indicating that this metric is not necessarily an indicator of host habitat or environmental condition. Variation in microbial composition was inconsistent both with a single, representative gut community for wild conspecifics and with a universal ‘signal of captivity’ that homogenizes the gut consortia of captive animals. Despite the similar, commercial diets of captive lemurs on both continents, lemur gut microbiomes within Madagascar were compositionally most similar, suggesting that non-dietary factors govern some of the variability. In particular, soil microbial communities varied across geographic locations, with the few samples from different continents being the most distinct, and there was significant and context-specific covariation between gut and soil microbiota. Conclusions As one of the broadest, single-species investigations of primate microbiota, our study highlights that gut consortia are sensitive to multiple scales of environmental differences. This finding begs a reevaluation of the simple ‘captive vs. wild’ dichotomy. Beyond the important implications for animal care, health, and conservation, our finding that environmental acquisition may mediate aspects of host-associated consortia further expands the framework for how host-associated and environmental microbes interact across different microbial landscapes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
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  6. Abstract

    The Northwest Atlantic, which has exhibited evidence of accelerated warming compared to the global ocean, also experienced several notable marine heatwaves (MHWs) over the last decade. We analyze spatiotemporal patterns of surface and subsurface temperature structure across the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope to assess the influences of atmospheric and oceanic processes on ocean temperatures. Here we focus on MHWs from 2015/16 and examine their physical drivers using observational and reanalysis products. We find that a combination of jet stream latitudinal position and ocean advection, mainly due to warm core rings shed by the Gulf Stream, plays amore »role in MHW development. While both atmospheric and oceanic drivers can lead to MHWs they have different temperature signatures with each affecting the vertical structure differently and horizontal spatial patterns of a MHW. Northwest Atlantic MHWs have significant socio-economic impacts and affect commercially important species such as squid and lobster.

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  7. Abstract Background Acinetobacter baumannii is a gram-negative bacterium which causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised hosts. Genome plasticity has given rise to a wide range of strain variation with respect to antimicrobial resistance profiles and expression of virulence factors which lead to altered phenotypes associated with pathogenesis. The purpose of this study was to analyze clinical strains of A. baumannii for phenotypic variation that might correlate with virulence phenotypes, antimicrobial resistance patterns, or strain isolation source. We hypothesized that individual strain virulence phenotypes might be associated with anatomical site of isolation or alterations in susceptibility to antimicrobial interventions. Methodology A cohortmore »of 17 clinical isolates of A. baumannii isolated from diverse anatomical sites were evaluated to ascertain phenotypic patterns including biofilm formation, hemolysis, motility, and antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic susceptibility/resistance to ampicillin-sulbactam, amikacin, ceftriaxone, ceftazidime, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, cefepime, gentamicin, levofloxacin, meropenem, piperacillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ticarcillin- K clavulanate, tetracyclin, and tobramycin was determined. Results Antibiotic resistance was prevalent in many strains including resistance to ampicillin-sulbactam, amikacin, ceftriaxone, ceftazidime, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, cefepime, gentamicin, levofloxacin, meropenem, piperacillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ticarcillin- K clavulanate, tetracyclin, and tobramycin. All strains tested induced hemolysis on agar plate detection assays. Wound-isolated strains of A. baumannii exhibited higher motility than strains isolated from blood, urine or Foley catheter, or sputum/bronchial wash. A. baumannii strains isolated from patient blood samples formed significantly more biofilm than isolates from wounds, sputum or bronchial wash samples. An inverse relationship between motility and biofilm formation was observed in the cohort of 17 clinical isolates of A. baumannii tested in this study. Motility was also inversely correlated with induction of hemolysis. An inverse correlation was observed between hemolysis and resistance to ticarcillin-k clavulanate, meropenem, and piperacillin. An inverse correlation was also observed between motility and resistance to ampicillin-sulbactam, ceftriaxone, ceftoxamine, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, or levofloxacin. Conclusions Strain dependent variations in biofilm and motility are associated with anatomical site of isolation. Biofilm and hemolysis production both have an inverse association with motility in the cohort of strains utilized in this study, and motility and hemolysis were inversely correlated with resistance to numerous antibiotics.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  8. Abstract Using Bayesian analyses we study the solar electron density with the NANOGrav 11 yr pulsar timing array (PTA) data set. Our model of the solar wind is incorporated into a global fit starting from pulse times of arrival. We introduce new tools developed for this global fit, including analytic expressions for solar electron column densities and open source models for the solar wind that port into existing PTA software. We perform an ab initio recovery of various solar wind model parameters. We then demonstrate the richness of information about the solar electron density, n E , that can bemore »gleaned from PTA data, including higher order corrections to the simple 1/ r 2 model associated with a free-streaming wind (which are informative probes of coronal acceleration physics), quarterly binned measurements of n E and a continuous time-varying model for n E spanning approximately one solar cycle period. Finally, we discuss the importance of our model for chromatic noise mitigation in gravitational-wave analyses of pulsar timing data and the potential of developing synergies between sophisticated PTA solar electron density models and those developed by the solar physics community.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023