Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 60–66

A chemical view of the most ancient metazoa – biomarker chemotaxonomy of hexactinellid sponges

  • Volker Thiel
  • Martin Blumenberg
  • Jens Hefter
  • Thomas Pape
  • Shirley Pomponi
  • John Reed
  • Joachim Reitner
  • Gert Wörheide
  • Walter Michaelis
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-001-0284-9

Cite this article as:
Thiel, V., Blumenberg, M., Hefter, J. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2002) 89: 60. doi:10.1007/s00114-001-0284-9

Abstract

Hexactinellid sponges are often considered to be the most ancient metazoans. Lipid biomarkers from 23 species were studied for information on their phylogenetic properties, particularly their disputed relation to the two other sponge classes (Demospongiae, Calcarea). The most prominent lipid compounds in the Hexactinellida comprise C28 to C32 polyenoic fatty acids. Their structures parallel the unique patterns found in demosponge membrane fatty acids ('demospongic acids') and strongly support a close phylogenetic association of the Demospongiae and the Hexactinellida. Both taxa also show unusual mid-chain methylated fatty acids (C15–C25) and irregular C25- and C40-isoprenoid hydrocarbons, tracers for specific eubacteria and Archaea, respectively. These biomarkers indicate a similar, highly conservative symbiont community, although some shift in the abundance of the associated microbiota was observed. The lack of these features in calcareous sponges further contradicts the still common view that Calcarea and Demospongiae are more closely related to each other than either is to the Hexactinellida.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volker Thiel
    • 1
  • Martin Blumenberg
    • 1
  • Jens Hefter
    • 2
  • Thomas Pape
    • 1
  • Shirley Pomponi
    • 3
  • John Reed
    • 3
  • Joachim Reitner
    • 4
  • Gert Wörheide
    • 5
  • Walter Michaelis
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biogeochemie und Meereschemie, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 HamburgGermany
  2. 2.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Columbusstrasse, 27568 BremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Division of Biomedical Marine Research, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, 5600 US 1 North, Fort Pierce, FL 34946USA
  4. 4.Göttinger Zentrum Geowissenschaften, Universität Göttingen, Goldschmidtstrasse 3, 37077 GöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Queensland Centre for Biodiversity, Queensland Museum, P.O. Box 3300, South Brisbane, Qld 4101Australia

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