Episode 62: How are YOU Like a Dung Beetle?

Meet the Expert: Dr. Anne Estes, biologist

Dr. Anne Estes, biologist


Dr. Anne Estes is an integrative biologist interested in the effect of the host diet and physiology on the genome and evolution of the host’s microbiome. The Estes laboratory at Towson University examines the effect of diet and antibiotic perturbation of the dung beetle digestive system microbiome, an insect essential to human and environmental health. These include: (a) the interaction between a host’s diet and physiology and the diversity, genome content, and function of its microbiome and (b) the molecular mechanisms facilitating the establishment and maintenance of host-bacterial symbioses, especially during disturbance events such as antibiotic exposure.

Dr. Estes grew up in rural North Alabama, playing in her backyard creek, reading, and listening to amazing storytellers. Perhaps due to the thick eyeglasses she’s worn since 2nd grade, Dr. Estes has a lifetime obsession with microscopic organisms. She spent untold hours gazing at the microbial life in the creek through her childhood microscope, always encouraged by her parents and science teachers. She earned her BS and MS in Biology from Auburn University and her PhD from the University of Arizona. In AZ, she met her husband the first day she stepped on campus. Learning about the importance of microbes as she became a mom to two daughters inspired Dr. Estes to begin blogging. As a post-doc researcher at the Institute for Genome Sciences, she built her blog – Mostly Microbes – as a reputable, scientific voice in the discussion about human microbiome research. Everyday, Dr. Estes appreciates and feeds her helpful gut microbes.


Check out Anne’s COOL website about science. It has TONS of great resources, activities, and book lists! 

Mostly Microbes website banner



scientist collecting cow dung

Dr. Estes and her daughters collecting beetles from horse poop

Dr. Estes with rainbow dung beetle

Take a look at a Dung Beetle in action!




Dung beetle brood ball with egg

Dung beetle brood ball with egg

Dr Estes looking through a microscope

Dr. Estes looking through her childhood microscope
















Eat a healthy diet for 3 days. Record how you feel and what your poop looks like in a journal. Then eat your normal diet and do the same. See if you can see the difference in how you feel based on what you eat.

With your parent’s permission, send us your results, or tell us how you felt when eating healthy vs eating food that might not be so healthy.

Send us a picture or leave a comment below.We LOVE hearing from you!! If you liked this episode, leave a comment below OR share with us on our Twitter , Instagram or Facebook page.


Microbe book for kids


Highlighted book for this Episode! 

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes  by Nicola Davies (Author), Emily Sutton (Illustrator)









Book List:

Microbes: Discover an Unseen World  by Christine Burillo-Kirch (Author), Tom Casteel (Illustrator)

Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home by Claire Eamer (Author), Marie-Ève Tremblay (Illustrator)

Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle by Cheryl Bardoe (Author), Alan Marks (Illustrator)


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