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Oxygen dynamics and transport in the Mediterranean sponge Aplysina aerophoba
Hoffmann, F.; Røy, H.; Bayer, K.; Hentschel, U.; Pfannkuchen, M.; Brümmer, F.; de Beer, D. (2008). Oxygen dynamics and transport in the Mediterranean sponge Aplysina aerophoba. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(6): 1257-1264.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hoffmann, F.
  • Røy, H.
  • Bayer, K.
  • Hentschel, U.
  • Pfannkuchen, M.
  • Brümmer, F.
  • de Beer, D.

    The Mediterranean sponge Aplysina aerophoba kept in aquaria or cultivation tanks can stop pumping for several hours or even days. To investigate changes in the chemical microenvironments, we measured oxygen profiles over the surface and into the tissue of pumping and non-pumping A. aerophoba specimens with Clark-type oxygen microelectrodes (tip diameters 18–30 µm). Total oxygen consumption rates of whole sponges were measured in closed chambers. These rates were used to back-calculate the oxygen distribution in a finite-element model. Combining direct measurements with calculations of diffusive flux and modeling revealed that the tissue of non-pumping sponges turns anoxic within 15 min, with the exception of a 1 mm surface layer where oxygen intrudes due to molecular diffusion over the sponge surface. Molecular diffusion is the only transport mechanism for oxygen into non-pumping sponges, which allows total oxygen consumption rates of 6–12 µmol cm-3 sponge day-1. Sponges of different sizes had similar diffusional uptake rates, which is explained by their similar surface/volume ratios. In pumping sponges, oxygen consumption rates were between 22 and 37 µmol cm-3 sponge day-1, and the entire tissue was oxygenated. Combining different approaches of direct oxygen measurement in living sponges with a dynamic model, we can show that tissue anoxia is a direct function of the pumping behavior. The sponge-microbe system of A. aerophoba thus has the possibility to switch actively between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism by stopping the water flow for more than 15 min. These periods of anoxia will greatly influence physiological variety and activity of the sponge microbes. Detailed knowledge about the varying chemical microenvironments in sponges will help to develop protocols to cultivate sponge-associated microbial lineages and improve our understanding of the sponge-microbe-system.

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