Investigation of Oscillatoria spongeliae-dominated bacterial communities in four dictyoceratid sponges

Christian P. Ridley, D. John Faulkner, Margo G. Haygood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Certain species of marine sponges in the order Dictyoceratida harbor large populations of the cyanobacterial symbiont Oscillatoria spongeliae in the mesohyl (interior) of the sponge. We show that in four of these sponge species (Lamellodysidea herbacea, Lamellodysidea chlorea, Lendenfeldia chondrodes, and Phyllospongia papyracea) from Palau there is a consistent community of α-proteobacteria in addition to O. spongeliae that fall within the Rhodobacter group based on 16S rRNA gene analysis. Some of the α-proteobacteria in Lendenfeldia chondrodes and P. papyracea but not in the Lamellodysidea spp. contained site-specific insertions in the 16S rRNA gene. Reverse transcription-PCR experiments demonstrated that the largest insertion found in this study (63 bp) is present in the mature rRNA. Lendenfeldia chondrodes was the only sponge found to have another cyanobacterium in the tissue, a Synechocystis sp. We found that the Synechocystis sp. was present in both the pinacoderm (surface epithelial tissue) and mesohyl, in contrast to O. spongeliae, which was only found in the mesohyl through the use of specific fluorescence in situ hybridization experiments. Of the four sponge species, only P. papyracea was found to contain a significant number of γ- proteobacteria. These results demonstrate that O. spongeliae-dominated bacterial communities in different sponge species can vary considerably and increase our understanding of the bacterial communities found in marine invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7366-7375
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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