AME 74:143-156 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01732

Spatial variability of microbial communities of the coralline demosponge Astrosclera willeyana across the Indo-Pacific

Klementyna Karlińska-Batres1, Gert Wörheide1,2,*

1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology and Geobiology & GeoBio-Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Richard-Wagner-Str. 10, 80333 München, Germany
2Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Richard-Wagner-Str. 10, 80333 München, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The coralline sponge Astrosclera willeyana, considered to be a living representative of the reef-building stromatoporoids of the Mesozoic and Paleozoic, is the most common coralline sponge found throughout Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Here, we used molecular methods to examine the microbiota of A. willeyana over nearly its whole geographic range, from the Red Sea to the central Pacific. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses of 42 Astrosclera specimens revealed a high microbial diversity and a complex composition in all of the investigated samples. Clearly distinct banding patterns indicated closer associations of the microbiota according to their geographic origin. Moreover, we provide the first insights into the hitherto undetermined diversity and composition of microbial communities associated with coralline sponges from the Red Sea. Random sequencing of a 16S rRNA clone library constructed from a single specimen of A. willeyana from the northern Red Sea exposed a very complex microbial consortium, with the most abundant being Chloroflexi, followed by Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria. Further members of the community belonged to Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Deferribacteria, Nitrospirae, Gemmatimonadetes, Spirochaetes as well as 1 uncertain bacterial group. A comparison with a 16S rRNA clone library obtained previously from A. willeyana from the Great Barrier Reef revealed both similarities and substantial differences in the composition of the microbiota. This study provides novel information on microbiota in coralline sponges, a diversity that has not been sufficiently investigated. Furthermore, it implies that the differences in symbiotic community composition may be an additional indicator of previously postulated cryptic host species.


KEY WORDS: Microbial community · Sponge · Cryptic species · Red Sea


Full text in pdf format 
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Karlińska-Batres K, Wörheide G (2015) Spatial variability of microbial communities of the coralline demosponge Astrosclera willeyana across the Indo-Pacific. Aquat Microb Ecol 74:143-156. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01732

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -