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  1. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of vertebrates contains a series of organs beginning with the mouth and ending with the anus or cloacal opening. Each organ represents a unique environment for resident microorganisms. Due to their simple digestive anatomy, snakes are good models for studying microbiome variation along the GIT. Cloacal sampling captures the majority of the microbial diversity found in the GIT of snakes—yet little is known about the oral microbiota of snakes. Most research on the snake mouth and gut microbiota are limited to studies of a single species or captive-bred individuals. It therefore remains unclear how a host’s life history, diet, or evolutionary history correlate with differences in the microbial composition within the mouths and guts of wild snakes. We sampled the mouth and gut microbial communities from three species of Asian venomous snakes and utilized 16S rRNA microbial inventories to test if host phylogenetic and ecological differences correlate with distinct microbial compositions within the two body sites. These species occupy three disparate habitat types: marine, semi-arboreal, and arboreal, our results suggest that the diversity of snake mouth and gut microbial communities correlate with differences in both host ecology and phylogeny.
  2. The most comprehensive study on amphibian chytridiomycosis in southeast Asia to date was conducted by Swei et al. (2011), who screened over 3,000 individuals and found only 2.35% were positive for Bd. Those individuals observed to be Bd-positive were sampled from Indonesia (0.25% infection rate), Laos (0.73%), Malaysia (0.90%), and the Philippines (8.01%). Although Philippine samples showed a higher infection rate in the study, the infected individuals came from a single, highly disturbed mountain on Luzon Island (Swei et al. 2011). Given the unique biogeographic history of the Philippine archipelago, and its importance to global amphibian diversity as a megadiverse nation and biodiversity hotspot (Myers et al. 2000), additional studies are needed across a broader region of the country to better evaluate the prevalence of infectious amphibian diseases. Here, we present novel data on the presence and distribution of both Bd and RV pathogens among wild amphibian populations on the islands of Calayan, Camiguin Norte, Luzon, and Negros in the central and northern Philippines.