Evidence of a Putative Deep Sea Specific Microbiome in Marine Sponges
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The microbiota of four individual deep water sponges, Lissodendoryx diversichela, Poecillastra compressa, Inflatella pellicula, and Stelletta normani, together with surrounding seawater were analysed by pyrosequencing of a region of the 16S rRNA gene common to Bacteria and Archaea. Due to sampling constraints at depths below 700 m duplicate samples were not collected. The microbial communities of L. diversichela, P. compressa and I. pellicula were typical of low microbial abundance (LMA) sponges while S. normani had a community more typical of high microbial abundance (HMA) sponges. Analysis of the deep sea sponge microbiota revealed that the three LMA-like sponges shared a set of abundant OTUs that were distinct from those associated with sponges from shallow waters. Comparison of the pyrosequencing data with that from shallow water sponges revealed that the microbial communities of all sponges analysed have similar archaeal populations but that the bacterial populations of the deep sea sponges were distinct. Further analysis of the common and abundant OTUs from the three LMA-like sponges placed them within the groups of ammonia oxidising Archaea (Thaumarchaeota) and sulphur oxidising ?-Proteobacteria (Chromatiales). Reads from these two groups made up over 70% of all 16S rRNA genes detected from the three LMA-like sponge samples, providing evidence of a putative common microbial assemblage associated with deep sea LMA sponges.
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