New Insights into Animal Behavior: The Role of the Microbiome

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Crystal Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
How and why animals behave the way they do has fascinated humans for centuries. Many insights into the causes and consequences of animal behavior have been gleaned by considering how an animal’s genotype and physical or social (e.g., competitors, mates, predators) environment influence behavior. Now, new studies are revealing that the trillions of microbes in and on most animals’ bodies also play a fundamental role in determining behavior. Microbes in the gut can influence levels of anxiety and depression in mice; blood-feeding mosquitoes select victims based on the microbial composition of human skin; and even the mating preferences of fruit flies are strongly shaped by microbes. Studies spanning laboratory animal models and natural field systems are essential for uncovering the nature and implications of these host-microbe interactions. This session explores how research across a diversity of settings is elucidating the mechanisms by which microbes alter behavior and vice versa, and the broader consequences of these effects. The session also highlights how understanding connections between microbes and animal behavior may translate into novel approaches for treating behavioral disorders in humans.
Joy Bergelson, University of Chicago
Vanessa Ezenwa, University of Georgia
and Daniel Rubenstein, Princeton University
Vanessa Ezenwa, University of Georgia
Nicole Gerardo, Emory University
Margaret McFall-Ngai, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Fiat Lux: Symbiont Bioluminescence Drives the Squid-Vibrio System
Kevin Theis, Michigan State University
Symbiotic Bacteria Mediate Hyena Social Odors
Elaine Y. Hsiao, California Institute of Technology
Gut-Brain-Immune Connections in Autism and Schizophrenia
See more of: Biology and Neuroscience
See more of: Symposia