Dr. Melissah Rowe, NIOO-KNAW – 12 January 2021

Sex and microbes


All organisms host microbial communities in and on their bodies, and these microbiomes can have major impacts on host biology. For example, research over the past decade has discovered that the gut microbiome plays an important role in health and disease. But what about microbes in the reproductive system: can these ‘reproductive microbiomes’ impact host fitness and evolution? In this talk, I will present some of my recent work on sperm-bacteria interactions and microbial communities in the ejaculates of passerine birds and discuss the potential  importance of reproductive microbiomes for host reproductive health and fertility. In addition, I will present some research investigating ejaculate immune function and the functional evolution of seminal fluid in passerine birds. Taken together, I suggest that these studies point to a role for bacteria in the functional evolution of avian ejaculates and that reproductive microbiomes may have important consequences for evolutionary processes related to sexual selection, sexual conflict, and reproductive isolation.

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   12 January 2021

Time       :   15.45 hours

Location:   Online