Stochasticity constrained by deterministic effects of diet and age drive rumen microbiome assembly dynamics

Ori Furman, Liat Shenhav, Goor Sasson, Fotini Kokou, Hen Honig, Shamay Jacoby, Tomer Hertz, Otto X. Cordero, Eran Halperin, Itzhak Mizrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How complex communities assemble through the animal’s life, and how predictable the process is remains unexplored. Here, we investigate the forces that drive the assembly of rumen microbiomes throughout a cow’s life, with emphasis on the balance between stochastic and deterministic processes. We analyse the development of the rumen microbiome from birth to adulthood using 16S-rRNA amplicon sequencing data and find that the animals shared a group of core successional species that invaded early on and persisted until adulthood. Along with deterministic factors, such as age and diet, early arriving species exerted strong priority effects, whereby dynamics of late successional taxa were strongly dependent on microbiome composition at early life stages. Priority effects also manifest as dramatic changes in microbiome development dynamics between animals delivered by C-section vs. natural birth, with the former undergoing much more rapid species invasion and accelerated microbiome development. Overall, our findings show that together with strong deterministic constrains imposed by diet and age, stochastic colonization in early life has long-lasting impacts on the development of animal microbiomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1904
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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