Vertical transmission of diverse microbes in the tropical sponge Corticium sp.

Koty H. Sharp, Boreth Eam, D. John Faulkner, Margo G. Haygood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Sponges are host to extremely diverse bacterial communities, some of which appear to be spatiotemporally stable, though how these consistent associations are assembled and maintained from one sponge generation to the next is not well understood. Here we report that a diverse group of microbes, including both bacteria and archaea, is consistently present in aggregates within embryos of the tropical sponge Corticium sp. The major taxonomic groups represented in bacterial 16S rRNA sequences amplified from the embryos are similar to those previously described in a variety of marine sponges. Three selected bacterial taxa, representing proteobacteria, actinobacteria, and a clade including recently described sponge-associated bacteria, were tested and found to be present in all adult samples tested over a 3-year period and in the embryos throughout development. Specific probes were used in fluorescence in situ hybridization to localize cells of the three types in the embryos and mesohyl. This study confirms the vertical transmission of multiple, phylogenetically diverse microorganisms in a marine sponge, and our findings lay the foundation for future work on exploring vertical transmission of specific, yet diverse, microbial assemblages in marine sponges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)622-629
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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