The complex community of microorganisms inhabiting the intestinal tract plays an important role in animal health. Genomic variation in phenotypically distinct pathogenic bacteria has been investigated; however, little has been done to characterize gene content differences that contribute to diversity in natural microbial communities. My research project is focused on non-pathogenic Enterococcus strains isolated from swine faeces.
The aim of the project is to identify and characterize strain-specific differences in the microbiota of the pig intestine and study the effects of various factors such as time, development and diet on strain level population dynamics in the pig intestine. The results will help us understand niche specialization and the selective and evolutionary forces that shape complex microbial communities.