Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have been looking into what sea urchin microbiomes are made of.
The research is focused on the Red and Purple sea urchins that populate the waters off the coast of California. By examining and gaining an insight into the microbiomes in their guts, scientists hope better to understand the urchins’ role in the environment.
According to lead research geneticist Paige Miller:
“It’s very important to understand what animals eat and why, and we think the microbiome could play an important role in why species thrive despite all the variation in food availability that’s out there in the ocean.”
The groundbreaking study is the first of its kind to look into the composition of the microbiota in a Sea Urchin’s gut. The study focused on various key issues, including the possibility that the urchins cultivate and farm microbes in their stomachs to produce food!
You can find out more information here.