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.
KeywordsSponge Synechococcus Vertical Transmission Marine Sponge Sponge Species
This work was financially supported by Grant 2000-321 from the United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) to M. Ilan, S. Beer and J.R. Pawlik. I. Brickner is thanked for histological preparations, and Y. Delarea for assistance with electron microscopy. S. Beer is thanked for his editorial comments of the manuscript. We thank the staff of the Inter-University Institute in Elat for their help during the course of this study. Samples were collected in compliance with the 2003/16729 permit from the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.
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