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Phylogeny and chemodiversity of marine sponge symbiotic Cyanobacteria

More:  Institutes 
Period: June 2010 till November 2013
Status: Completed

Institutes (3)  Top 
  • Ministério da Ciência e da Tecnologia; Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), more, sponsor
  • University of Porto; Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (Porto) (CIIMAR), more
  • University of Porto; Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC), more

field we will study the diversity of sponge-associated cyanobacteria strains in temperate north Atlantic waters and related them with the sponge species. Different approaches will be used, from traditional morphological identification to molecular methods using specific primers for both sponge and associated cyanobacteria. In order to estimate the N2 fixation by these cyanobacteria we will use the detection of nitrogenase genes – nifH and nifK -subunit of and also the nitrogenase activity by the acetylene reductiondinitrogenase, assay – ARA. To understand if sponge-associated cyanobacteria keep and use the toxin producing genes identified in the planktonic freshwater species we will apply specific primers to detect genes involved on the microcystins, cylindrospermopsin and saxitoxin prodution. Known primers and degenerate primers will be used and in case of positive responses, qPCR and chemical methods will assess the toxin production rates. To investigate if sponge-associated cyanobacteria are only transmitted vertically or can associate with sponges at latter stages of development we will study the occurrence of cyanobacteria in early development stages of sponge development (larvae). Immunolocalization will be used to detect and quantify cyanobacteria in these stages of development. Incubation of free cyanobacteria-free stages with local cyanobacteria species will show us if infection can occur at latter stages and depending on local species availability.

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