A number of novel, invertebrate systems have emerged as excellent models for the study of microbiomes. Due to their small size, evolutionary diversity, ease of culture, and – in many cases – relatively simple gut communities, invertebrates of many different orders can be tools to drive hypothesis-driven microbiome research. In this review we highlight several host systems amenable to microbiota analyses and specific questions that can be easily addressed in those systems. These questions address functional equivalence across similar habitats, host-specificity and coevolution of host-microbe interactions, and acquisition and transmission dynamics of host-associated communities. We propose that host systems be chosen based on the question of interest, and that insect systems are excellent tools for the vast behavioral, ecological, and genetic diversity that allows them to address a variety of these questions.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.