MEPS 358:137-150 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07370

Dissolved carbon fixation by sponge–microbe consortia of deep water coral mounds in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean

Fleur C. van Duyl*, Jan Hegeman, Astrid Hoogstraten, Conny Maier

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790AB Den Burg, Texel, Netherlands
*Email:

ABSTRACT: We studied dissolved organic and inorganic carbon fixation in 2 sponge species from deep water coral mounds, viz. the demosponge Higginsia thielei and the hexactinellid sponge Rossella nodastrella. Sponges were collected between 500 and 700 m depth on coral mounds in the Rockall Trough (NE Atlantic). Prokaryote densities in sponge associations were on average 2.0 × 108 cm–3 in H. thielei and 2.5 × 108 cm–3 in R. nodastrella (ca. 7 to 30% Archaea, 36 to 65% Bacteria, counted after DAPI staining). Sponge samples were incubated in ultra-filtered seawater with 3H-leucine and 14C-bicarbonate. Mean leucine-based carbon production was 4 nmol C cm–3 sponge d–1 for H. thielei and 2 to 4 nmol C cm–3 d–1 for R. nodastrella. Average bicarbonate fixation by box-cored H. thielei was 0.7 nmol C cm–3 sponge d–1 and up to 4.5 nmol C cm–3 d–1 by R. nodastrella. Bicarbonate fixation by sponges was enhanced by (NH4)2SO4 addition to the incubations. Net ammonia oxidation and nitrite production were established for both sponge species and indicated the presence of sponge-associated nitrifiers. Results suggest that sponge-associated chemoautotrophic/mixotrophic nitrifying prokaryotes may contribute to the observed CO2 assimilation. On average, dissolved carbon was processed 100 to 150 times faster by sponge–microbe consortia of H. thielei and R. nodastrella than by planktonic microbes in ambient water. Preliminary estimates suggest that the assimilation of dissolved (in)organic carbon contributed up to 10% of total carbon assimilation by sponge–microbe consortia of H. thielei and R. nodastrella.


KEY WORDS: Deep water coral reef · Sponge-associated prokaryotes · Leucine incorporation · Bicarbonate fixation · Nitrification


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Cite this article as: van Duyl FC, Hegeman J, Hoogstraten A, Maier C (2008) Dissolved carbon fixation by sponge–microbe consortia of deep water coral mounds in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 358:137-150. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07370

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