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Sponge-specific bacterial symbionts in the Caribbean sponge, Chondrilla nucula (Demospongiae, Chondrosida)
Hill, M.; Hill, A.; Lopez, N.; Harriott, O. (2006). Sponge-specific bacterial symbionts in the Caribbean sponge, Chondrilla nucula (Demospongiae, Chondrosida). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 148(6): 1221-1230. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-005-0164-5
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hill, M.
  • Hill, A.
  • Lopez, N.
  • Harriott, O.

Abstract
    Marine sponges harbor dense and highly diverse bacterial communities, and some percentage of the microflora appears to be specialized for the sponge habitat. Bacterial diversity was examined in Chondrilla nucula Schmidt to test the hypothesis that some subset of sponge symbiont communities is highly similar regardless of the species of host or habitat requirements of the host. C. nucula was collected from a mangrove channel on Lower Matcumbe Key in the Florida Keys (25°53'N; 80°42'W) in August 1999. Domain-specific universal bacterial primers were used to amplify the 16S rDNA gene from genomic DNA that had been extracted from sponges and the surrounding water. An RFLP technique was used to assess diversity of sponge-associated and environmental bacterial communities. The clone library from C. nucula contained 21 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). None of the 53 OTUs from adjacent water samples were found in the C. nucula library indicating that a distinct community was present in the sponge. Sequence analysis indicated that C. nucula harbors a microbial community as diverse as the microbes from other sponges in different habitats around the world. Phylogenetic analysis placed several C. nucula clones in clades dominated by bacteria that appear to be sponge specialists (e.g., Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Cyanobacteria). Proportional representation of major bacterial taxonomic groups represented in symbiont communities was compared as a function of geographic location of sponge hosts. This study supports the hypothesis that sponges from different oceans existing in dissimilar habitats harbor closely related bacteria that are distinct from other bacterial lineages and appear specialized for residing within sponges.

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