Editor's Note: This piece was originally published online in the UNM BioBlog on Jan. 9, 2018, written by Heather Mercer and Aurora Kraus. This is part of our project to help connect the Daily Lobo audience to more members of our community.

Poop is funny. As scientists, we have many euphemisms for it: guano, scat, feces and frass. But no matter what you call it, or how old you are, poop makes you laugh. 

However, most people don’t appreciate the health benefits of having healthy poop.

Poop is not just our own metabolic byproducts, but a living ecosystem of microbiota. Anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of your feces is microbiota that defend us from colonization of pathogens and help us digest food. A recent UNM BioBlog discusses how poop can be used to save lives, and how we can potentially prevent future illnesses by maintaining our fecal health.

Heather and Aurora are both graduate students at in the UNM Biology Department and are both controlled by their microbiomes. Heather finds all parasites amazing, and Aurora loves brains. You can contact Heather at mercerh@unm.edu and Aurora at akraus@unm.edu.