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Biological Characterisation of Haliclona (?gellius) sp.: Sponge and Associated Microorganisms

  • Author(s): Sipkema, Detmer
  • Holmes, Bradley
  • Nichols, Scott A.
  • Blanch, Harvey W.
  • et al.

We have characterised the northern Pacific undescribed sponge Haliclona (?gellius) sp. based on rDNA of the sponge and its associated microorganisms. The sponge is closely related to Amphimedon queenslandica from the Great Barrier Reef as the near-complete 18S rDNA sequences of both sponges were identical. The microbial fingerprint of three specimens harvested at different times and of a transplanted specimen was compared to identify stably associated microorganisms. Most bacterial phyla were detected in each sample, but only a few bacterial species were determined to be stably associated with the sponge. A sponge-specific β- and γ-Proteobacterium were abundant clones and both of them were present in three of the four specimens analysed. In addition, a Planctomycete and a Crenarchaea were detected in all sponge individuals. Both were closely related to operational taxonomic units that have been found in other sponges, but not exclusively in sponges. Interestingly, also a number of clones that are closely related to intracellular symbionts from insects and amoeba were detected.

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