Morrow et al. 2016

scientific article | Environ Microbiol | open access Open access small aa108fa7f478951c693af64a05bc4b46e6711dbb69a20809512a129d4d6b870f

Environmental drivers of microbial community shifts in the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, over a shallow to mesophotic depth gradient

Morrow KM, Fiore Cara, Lesser M

Adobe pdf ff6e8bea21f0598930b59d2452bacbad49a13eb0fa773865059b4c2ed088a358
Www fec836ca290318f37dc3ecd481f22b98faf488d5ddef687807ca6b76d8e893ed
Gscholar 58dd9f05df3b8d1811d087e8507325500777053d6677b471fd75373a30a4cee1

The giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, is a high microbial abundance sponge found on Caribbean coral reefs along shallow to mesophotic depth gradients where multiple abiotic factors change with depth. Sponges were collected along a depth gradient at Little Cayman (LC) and Lee Stocking Island (LSI) and the microbiome of these samples was analyzed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Statistically significant shifts in community structure and dissimilarity (∼40%) were detected from 10 to 90 m in LC sponges, but a similar shift was not identified in sponges from 10-60 m at LSI (only 17% dissimilar). Additionally, inorganic nutrient levels steadily increased with depth at LSI but not at LC. Based on bulk stable isotopic variability, sponges collected from LC were generally more enriched in 15N and less enriched in 13C as depth increased, suggesting a transition from dependency on photoautotrophy to heterotrophy as depth increased. Patterns of stable isotopic enrichment were largely invariant at LSI, which is also reflected in the more stable microbial community along the depth gradient. It appears that environmental factors that change with depth may contribute to differences in X. muta microbial assemblages, demonstrating the importance of contemporaneous environmental sampling in studies of the microbiome of sponges.

Behind the science
Img 9368 3xmuta morrow Img 9366 survey morrow Img 9000 xmutacloseup morrow
Xm2f fluoresceinpumping fiore Dscn0052 xmutadivers pankey Img 5913 copy
Research sites

Morrow et al 2016 environmental microbiology
Meta-data (pending validation)
Depth range
10- 90 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
23 x (total of 5281 words)

Community structure Molecular ecology

Research focus
Porifera (Sponges) Bacteria and Archaea

Cayman Islands Bahamas

Research platforms
Diving - Technical Open-Circuit
Author profiles
Michael P. Lesser ( 14 pubs)
Kathleen Morrow ( 2 pubs)