Katherine R Amato

Katherine R Amato
Northwestern University | NU · Department of Anthropology

Ph.D.

About

139
Publications
70,101
Reads
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6,757
Citations
Citations since 2017
92 Research Items
6458 Citations
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Additional affiliations
September 2013 - September 2015
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2008 - August 2013
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Position
  • Ph.D. Dissertation Work
Description
  • Investigated the dynamics of the gut microbiome in howler monkeys across habitats, seasons, and age/sex classes in an attempt to understand impacts on howler monkey ecology.
September 2007 - June 2008
Position
  • Fulbright Fellow/National Geographic Young Explorer
Description
  • Compared seed dispersal patterns in two species of howler monkeys at two sites in Mexico.
Education
August 2008 - August 2013
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Field of study
  • Ecology, Evolution, Conservation Biology
September 2003 - June 2007
Dartmouth College
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (139)
Article
Full-text available
Among mammals, the order Primates is exceptional in having a high taxonomic richness in which the taxa are arboreal, semiterrestrial, or terrestrial. Although habitual terrestrial-ity is pervasive among the apes and African and Asian monkeys (catarrhines), it is largely absent among monkeys of the Americas (platyrrhines), as well as galagos, lemurs...
Article
Full-text available
Among mammals, the order Primates is exceptional in having a high taxonomic richness in which the taxa are arboreal, semiterrestrial, or terrestrial. Although habitual terrestriality is pervasive among the apes and African and Asian monkeys (catarrhines), it is largely absent among monkeys of the Americas (platyrrhines), as well as galagos, lemurs,...
Article
Gut microbial communities are shaped by a myriad of extrinsic factors, including diet and the environment. Although distinct human populations consistently exhibit different gut microbiome compositions, variation in diet and environmental factors are almost always coupled, making it difficult to disentangle their relative contributions to shaping t...
Article
Full-text available
Animals living in anthropogenically disturbed habitats are exposed to environmental stressors which can trigger physiological reactions, such as chronic elevations of glucocorticoid hormones. Physiological responses to stressors may induce changes in the gut microbiome, most likely, facilitated by the gut-brain communication. Although these effects...
Article
Full-text available
Mammals rely on the metabolic functions of their gut microbiota to meet their energetic needs and digest potentially toxic components in their diet. The gut microbiome plastically responds to shifts in host diet and may buffer variation in energy and nutrient availability. However, it is unclear how seasonal differences in the gut microbiome influe...
Article
Sixty years ago, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring, which focused the world's attention on the dangers of pesticides. Since that time human impacts on the environment have accelerated and this has included reshaping the chemical landscape. Here we evaluate the severity of exposure of tropical terrestrial mammals to pesticides, pharmace...
Chapter
The Colobines are a group of Afroeurasian monkeys that exhibit extraordinary behavioural and ecological diversity. With long tails and diverse colourations, they are medium-sized primates, mostly arboreal, that are found in many different habitats, from rain forests and mountain forests to mangroves and savannah. Over the last two decades, our unde...
Article
Full-text available
Microbiome analysis presents an opportunity to understand how urban environments affect avian physiology. For example, habitat use can affect microbiome diversity and composition, and hosts with more diverse gut microbiota are thought to be more resistant to pathogens and have increased fitness. However, the microbiome is an understudied aspect of...
Article
Full-text available
In mammal herbivores, fiber digestion usually occurs predominantly in either the foregut or the hindgut. Reports of mechanisms showing synergistic function in both gut regions for the digestion of fiber and other nutrients in wild mammals are rare since it requires integrative study of anatomy, physiology and gut microbiome. Colobine monkeys (Colob...
Article
Full-text available
Background Habitat disturbance affects the biology and health of animals globally. Understanding the factors that contribute to the differential responses of animals to habitat disturbance is critical for conservation. The gut microbiota represents a potential pathway through which host responses to habitat disturbance might be mediated. However, a...
Article
High throughput sequencing of gut microbiota helps to understand the nutrition and health of the host. In this sense, it is an important tool for improving wildlife conservation and management. Little is known about the microbial communities occupying the gastrointestinal tract and the differences of microbiota among primate species. We conducted a...
Article
Full-text available
Over the course of human evolution, shifts in dietary practices such as meat-eating and cooking, have resulted in reduced fiber intake, a trend that has been exaggerated more recently in industrialized populations. Reduced fiber consumption is associated with a loss of gut microbial taxa that degrade fiber, particularly butyrate. Therefore, this di...
Article
Gut bacteria may coexist with other groups of organisms, such as nematode parasites, that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract of primates; however, the possible effects of endoparasites on bacterial communities are frequently overlooked. Here we explored whether infection with Trypanoxyuris, an oxyurid gastrointestinal parasite, is associated with c...
Article
Fermented foods are an important part of the human diet. While the types of fermented foods consumed as well as the processes used to create them vary regionally, the majority of human populations globally deliberately produce and consume fermented foods as a central part of their diets. This pattern is in contrast to that of other vertebrates, inc...
Article
Full-text available
The distribution and availability of microbes in the environment has an important effect on the composition of the gut microbiome of wild vertebrates. However, our current knowledge of gut-environmental interactions is based principally on data from the host bacterial microbiome, rather than on links that establish how and where hosts acquire their...
Article
Longitudinal data from nonhuman primates reveal widespread gut microbiome heritability
Article
Full-text available
Individuals who are minoritized as a result of race, sexual identity, gender, or socioeconomic status experience a higher prevalence of many diseases. Understanding the biological processes that cause and maintain these socially driven health inequities is essential for addressing them. The gut microbiome is strongly shaped by host environments and...
Article
Developing general principles of host–microorganism interactions necessitates a robust understanding of the eco-evolutionary processes that structure microbiota. Phylosymbiosis, or patterns of microbiome composition that can be predicted by host phylogeny, is a unique framework for interrogating these processes. Identifying the contexts in which ph...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: In mammal herbivores, the digestion of fiber usually occurs predominantly in either the foregut or in the hindgut. However, how both gut regions function synergistically in the digestion of fiber and other nutrients has rarely been reported in wild mammals. This requires an integrative study of host anatomy, physiology and gut microbiom...
Article
Full-text available
Although recent studies have revealed that gut fungi may play an important functional role in animal biology and health, little is known concerning the effects of anthropogenic pressures on the gut mycobiome. Here, we examined differences of the gut mycobiome in wild and captive populations of Tibetan macaques ( Macaca thibetana ) targeting the fun...
Article
Objectives Although fermented food use is ubiquitous in humans, the ecological and evolutionary factors contributing to its emergence are unclear. Here we investigated the ecological contexts surrounding the consumption of fruits in the late stages of fermentation by wild primates to provide insight into its adaptive function. We hypothesized that...
Article
Objectives Although fermented food use is ubiquitous in humans, the ecological and evolutionary factors contributing to its emergence are unclear. Here we investigated the ecological contexts surrounding the consumption of fruits in the late stages of fermentation by wild primates to provide insight into its adaptive function. We hypothesized that...
Article
Objectives: The skin, as well as its microbial communities, serves as the primary interface between the human body and the surrounding environment. In order to implement the skin microbiome into human biology research, there is a need to explore the effects of different sample collection and storage methodologies, including the feasibility of cond...
Article
Full-text available
Background Adaptive shifts in gut microbiome composition are one route by which animals adapt to seasonal changes in food availability and diet. However, outside of dietary shifts, other potential environmental drivers of gut microbial composition have rarely been investigated, particularly in organisms living in their natural environments. Result...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to affect the human microbiome in infected and uninfected individuals, having a substantial impact on human health over the long term. This pandemic intersects with a decades-long decline in microbial diversity and ancestral microbes due to hygiene, antibiotics, and urban living (the hygiene hypothesis). High...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat disturbance, a common consequence of anthropogenic land use practices, creates human–animal interfaces where humans, wildlife, and domestic species can interact. These altered habitats can influence host–microbe dynamics, leading to potential downstream effects on host physiology and health. Here, we explored the effect of ecological overla...
Article
Full-text available
Comparisons of mammalian gut microbiota across different environmental conditions shed light on the diversity and composition of gut bacteriome and suggest consequences for human and animal health. Gut bacteriome comparisons across different environments diverge in their results, showing no generalizable patterns linking habitat and dietary degrada...
Article
Full-text available
This study contributes to the sparse literature on the infant skin microbiome in general, and the virtually nonexistent literature on the infant skin microbiome in a field setting. While microbiome research often addresses patterns at a national scale, this study addresses the influence of population-level factors, such as maternal socioeconomic st...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals have evolved numerous strategies to cope with energetic challenges, with dynamic changes to the gut microbiome potentially constituting one such strategy. We tested how proxies of food availability (rainfall) and thermoregulatory stress (temperature) predicted gut microbiome composition of geladas (Theropithecus geladas), a grazing, high-al...
Article
Full-text available
Studies in multiple host species have shown that gut microbial diversity and composition change during pregnancy and lactation. However, the specific mechanisms underlying these shifts are not well understood. Here, we use longitudinal data from wild Phayre’s leaf monkeys to test the hypothesis that fluctuations in reproductive hormone concentratio...
Article
Understanding the mechanisms by which organisms respond to environmental change is critical to conservation biology. Recent research indicates that the gut microbiome may mediate mammalian responses to the environment and can be used as a biomarker to understand host ecological strategies. Here, we explore the relationship between the gut microbiom...
Article
Full-text available
The social structure of primates has recently been shown to influence the composition of their microbiomes. What is less clear is how primate microbiomes might in turn influence their social behavior, either in general or with particular reference to hominins. Here we use a comparative approach to understand how microbiomes of hominins have, or mig...
Article
Full-text available
Diet and host phylogeny drive the taxonomic and functional contents of the gut microbiome in mammals, yet it is unknown whether these patterns hold across all vertebrate lineages. Here, we assessed gut microbiomes from ∼900 vertebrate species, including 315 mammals and 491 birds, assessing contributions of diet, phylogeny, and physiology to structu...
Article
Despite careful attention to animal nutrition and wellbeing, gastrointestinal distress remains relatively common in captive non-human primates (NHPs), particularly dietary specialists such as folivores. These patterns may be a result of marked dietary differences between captive and wild settings and associated impacts on the gut microbiome. Howeve...
Article
Full-text available
This study provides novel insights on the CRC-associated microbiome of a unique cohort in India, reveals the potential role of a new bacterium in CRC, and identifies cohort-specific biomarkers, which can potentially be used in noninvasive diagnosis of CRC. The study gains additional significance, as India is among the countries with a very low inci...
Article
Full-text available
Documenting the natural diversity of eukaryotic organisms in the nonhuman primate (NHP) gut is important for understanding the evolution of the mammalian gut microbiome, its role in digestion, health and disease, and the consequences of anthropogenic change on primate biology and conservation. Despite the ecological significance of gut-associated e...
Article
Primate microbiome research is a quickly growing field with exciting potential for informing our understanding of primate biology, ecology, and evolution as well as host‐microbe interactions more broadly. This introductory essay to a special section of the American Journal of Primatology provides a cross‐sectional snapshot of current activity in th...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Comparative data from non-human primates provide insight into the processes that shaped the evolution of the human gut microbiome and highlight microbiome traits that differentiate humans from other primates. Here, in an effort to improve our understanding of the human microbiome, we compare gut microbiome composition and functional po...
Article
Human evolution has been punctuated by climate anomalies, structuring environments, deadly infections, and altering landscapes. How well humans adapted to these new circumstances had direct effects on fitness and survival. Here, how the gut microbiome could have contributed to human evolutionary success through contributions to host nutritional buf...
Article
Full-text available
Automated, high-throughput technologies are becoming increasingly common in microbiome studies to decrease costs and increase efficiency. However, in microbiome studies, small differences in methodology - including storage conditions, wet lab methods, sequencing platforms and data analysis - can influence the reproducibility and comparability of da...
Article
Host social interactions can provide multiple complex pathways for microbial transmission. Here, we suggest non-human primates as models to study the social transmission of commensal or mutualistic microbes due to their high sociality, wide range of group compositions and dominance structures, and diverse group interactions. Microbial sharing from...
Article
Full-text available
The gut microbiome of primates, including humans, is reported to closely follow host evolutionary history, with gut microbiome composition being specific to the genetic background of its primate host. However, the comparative models used to date have mainly included a limited set of closely related primates. To further understand the forces that sh...
Article
Full-text available
The gut microbiome can influence host energy balances and metabolic programming. While this information is valuable in a disease context, it also has important implications for understanding host energetics from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Here I argue that gut microbial influences on host life history—the timing of events that make...
Article
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This essay, written by a biologist, a microbial ecologist, a biological anthropologist, and an anthropologist-historian, examines tensions and translations in microbiome research on animals in the laboratory and field. The authors trace how research questions and findings in the laboratory are extrapolated into the field and vice versa, and the shi...
Article
Many colobine species—including the endangered Guizhou snub‐nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) are difficult to maintain in captivity and frequently exhibit gastrointestinal (GI) problems. GI problems are commonly linked to alterations in the gut microbiota, which lead us to examine the gut microbial communities of wild and captive R. brelichi....
Article
Full-text available
Background Metagenomic studies carried out in the past decade have led to an enhanced understanding of the gut microbiome in human health, however, the Indian gut microbiome is not well explored yet. We analysed the gut microbiome of 110 healthy individuals from two distinct locations (North-Central and Southern) in India using multi-omics approach...
Article
Changes in reproductive status influence energy and nutrient requirements in female primates. The gut microbiota may buffer changes in energy demands, with shifts in community composition increasing the energy production potential of the gut during pregnancy and lactation. In this study, we examine changes in the gut microbiome of wild, female whit...
Article
Over the past decade several studies have reported that the gut microbiomes of mammals with similar dietary niches exhibit similar compositional and functional traits. However, these studies rely heavily on samples from captive individuals and often confound host phylogeny, gut morphology, and diet. To more explicitly test the influence of host die...
Article
Full-text available
The mammalian gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to trillions of bacteria that play a substantial role in host metabolism and immunity. While progress has been made in understanding the role that microbial communities play in human health and disease, much less attention has been given to host‐associated microbiomes in nonhuman primates (NHPs). He...
Poster
Full-text available
Research question: How does seasonality influence the metabolome of wild black howler monkeys? Methods • We collected behavioral data and fecal samples (n=81) from 16 black howler monkeys in Palenque National Park, Mexico • Samples were collected during wet, fruit-dominated (WFD), dry, leaf-dominated (DLD), and dry, fruit-dominated (DFD) seasons •...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract of non-human primates is inhabited by a range of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, microbial eukaryotes, and viruses. While these organisms undoubtedly interact with each other, most studies to date describe relationships between hosts and single groups of GI microorganisms. However, understanding the asso...
Article
Full-text available
Both diet and host phylogeny shape the gut microbial community, and separating out the effects of these variables can be challenging. In this study, high-throughput sequencing was used to evaluate the impact of diet and phylogeny on the gut microbiota of nine colobine monkey species (N = 64 individuals). Colobines are leaf-eating monkeys that fare...