, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 35-41
Date: 12 Aug 2005

Transmission, plasticity and the molecular identification of cyanobacterial symbionts in the Red Sea sponge Diacarnus erythraenus

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Cyanobacterial symbionts in the sponge Diacarnus erythraenus from the Red Sea were identified in both adult sponges and their larvae by 16S rDNA sequencing. A single cyanobacterial type was found in all samples. This cyanobacterial type is closely related to other sponge cyanobacterial symbionts. The cyanobacterial rDNA, together with the morphological analysis by electron and fluorescence microscopy, provided evidence for vertical transmission of the symbionts in this sponge. In addition, we show phenotypic plasticity of the symbionts inside the sponge, probably as a result of variability in light availability inside the sponge tissue. Finally, the reproduction of Diacarnus erythraenus is also described.

Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe.
Matan Oren, Laura Steindler have contributed equally to the work.