During the early-life period, the hatchlings of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) rely on their own post-hatching internal yolk for several days before beginning to feed. The gut microbiome is critical for the adaptation of organisms to new environ- ments, but, to date, how the microbiome taxa are assembled during early life of the turtle is unknown. In this study, the intestinal microbiome of red-eared slider hatchlings (fed on commercial particle food) was systematically analyzed at four different growth stages (0 d, 10 d, 20 d, 30 d) by a high-throughput sequencing approach. Results showed that the dominant phyla were Firmicutes (58.23%) and Proteobacteria (41.42%) at 0-day, Firmicutes (92.94%) at 10-day, Firmicutes (67.08%) and Bacteroidetes (27.17%) at 20- day, and Firmicutes (56.46%), Bacteroidetes (22.55%) and Proteobacteria (20.66%) at 30-day post-hatching. Members of the Bacteroidaceae family were absent in 0-day and 10-day turtles, but dominated in 20-day and 30-day turtles. The abundance of Clostridium also showed the highest value in 10-day turtles. The richness of the intestinal microbiomes was lower at 0-day and 30-day than that at 10-day and 20-day, while the diversity was higher at 10-day and 30-day than that at 0-day and 20-day. The results endowed the turtles with an ability to enhance their tolerance to the environment.

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Department of Biology

Peng, Q. (Qin), Chen, Y. (Yahui), Ding, L. (Li), Zhao, Z. (Zimiao), Yan, P. (Peiyu), Storey, K, … Hong, M. (Meiling). (2020). Early-life intestinal microbiome in Trachemys scripta elegans analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing. PeerJ, 2020(2). doi:10.7717/peerj.8501