The Protozoa project is studying different protozoa species found within the equine gut and other mammals with similar digestive tracts by incorporating lab work and computational data collection. This project will be creating a reference packet of all the known protozoa species found in the equine microbial community. This packet will consist of photographs as well as descriptions of the morphology and size of the species. This will be used as a tool for identifying unknown species in future sampling projects.
This project is currently being worked on by undergraduate students David Vega and Kasey Hobert, under the supervision of Dr. Amy Biddle and Ph.D. candidate Alexa Johnson. The Biddle Lab chose to undergo this project because there is limited research on the field of equine protozoa and their role in the microbiome. This project peaked the researchers’ interest due to the variety of protozoa species present within mammals and their ability to differ so greatly. It is very interesting to see the similarities and differences between protozoal populations in different animal species. For example, specific protozoa species that have been found in the horse have also been seen in elephants and hippos.
This project would love assistance in the lab with sampling and identification of the protozoa found. The packet will be ever-changing and growing so having someone to continue to oversee the packet’s changes would be incredibly helpful.