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K-State Today

December 2, 2021

Melissah Rowe to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Melissah Rowe, group leader, animal ecology department, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, will present her research titled "Sex and Microbes" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, via Zoom.

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, Rowe will present some 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 performance. In addition, Rowe will present some research investigating ejaculate immune function and the functional evolution of seminal fluid in passerine birds. Taken together, Rowe suggests 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.

If you would like to visit with Rowe, please contact John Coffin at jlcoffin@k-state.edu