Microbial Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 213–220 | Cite as

Culturable Bacterial Symbionts Isolated from Two Distinct Sponge Species (Pseudoceratina clavata and Rhabdastrella globostellata) from the Great Barrier Reef Display Similar Phylogenetic Diversity

  • Feras F. Lafi
  • Mary J. Garson
  • John A. FuerstEmail author


The diversity of the culturable microbial communities was examined in two sponge species—Pseudoceratina clavata and Rhabdastrella globostellata. Isolates were characterized by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. The bacterial community structures represented in both sponges were found to be similar at the phylum level by the same four phyla in this study and also at a finer scale at the species level in both Firmicutes and Alphaproteobacteria. The majority of the Alphaproteobacteria isolates were most closely related to isolates from other sponge species including alpha proteobacterium NW001 sp. and alpha proteobacterium MBIC3368. Members of the low %G + C gram-positive (phylum Firmicutes), high %G + C gram-positive (phylum Actinobacteria), and Cytophaga–Flavobacterium–Bacteroides (phylum Bacteroidetes) phyla of domain Bacteria were also represented in both sponges. In terms of culturable organisms, taxonomic diversity of the microbial community in the two sponge species displays similar structure at phylum level. Within phyla, isolates often belonged to the same genus-level monophyletic group. Community structure and taxonomic composition in the two sponge species P. clavata and Rha. globostellata share significant features with those of other sponge species including those from widely separated geographical and climatic regions of the sea.


Sponge Actinobacteria Firmicutes Bacteroidetes Great Barrier Reef 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research in J.A.F.'s laboratory was funded by the Australian Research Council. F.F.L. thanks the School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland, for a UQ Graduate School Scholarship. We also thank John Hooper of Queensland Museum for sponge identification and voucher specimen storage and Mike Dyall-Smith for donation of H. volcanii.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feras F. Lafi
    • 1
  • Mary J. Garson
    • 1
  • John A. Fuerst
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Molecular and Microbial SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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