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Jouett NJ, Bibbings ME, Sullivan CE, Parsons RJ.2015. Molecular investigation of the microbial community associated with the fire sponge, Tedania ignis, in Bermuda. PeerJ PrePrints3:e905v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.905v1
The complex, phylogenetically diverse, and specific microbial communities associated with marine sponges are a key aspect of the ecology and evolution of the metazoan host and the endosymbiotic microbes. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methods, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T RFLP), and functional gene probing via PCR, the current study investigates the microbial associations in the common Caribbean fire sponge, Tedania ignis. Sponge and water samples were collected from different sites around Bermuda from 2012 to 2014 in order to assess their respective microbial communities. Using FISH, SAR202 (Chloroflexi) (5.82% ± 0.59%) and Crenarchaea (7.97% ± 1.08%) were identified as the most abundant contributors to the microbial assemblage of T. ignis while the Alphaproteobacterium SAR11 (30.68% ± 1.68%) was identified as the most dominant species in the surrounding seawater. Due to the presence of Crenarchaea, the Archaeal gene for ammonia oxidation (amoA) was probed via PCR and found to be present. T RFLP identified the most abundant fragment length present in the sponge as 336 bp (>60% of T RFLP peak abundance). The sponge community was consistent and markedly distinct from that of the ambient seawater as identified by both FISH and T RFLP. Epifluorescent microscopy with DAPI staining also identified T. ignis as a high microbial abundance (HMA) sponge, in contrast to previous studies. Together, these data characterize the microbiome of T. ignis in much further detail than has previously been described.