Microbial Ecology

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 951–961 | Cite as

Comparisons of the Fungal and Protistan Communities among Different Marine Sponge Holobionts by Pyrosequencing

  • Liming He
  • Fang Liu
  • Valliappan Karuppiah
  • Yi Ren
  • Zhiyong Li
Invertebrate Microbiology


To date, the knowledge of eukaryotic communities associated with sponges remains limited compared with prokaryotic communities. In a manner similar to prokaryotes, it could be hypothesized that sponge holobionts have phylogenetically diverse eukaryotic symbionts, and the eukaryotic community structures in different sponge holobionts were probably different. In order to test this hypothesis, the communities of eukaryota associated with 11 species of South China Sea sponges were compared with the V4 region of 18S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene using 454 pyrosequencing. Consequently, 135 and 721 unique operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of fungi and protists were obtained at 97 % sequence similarity, respectively. These sequences were assigned to 2 phyla of fungi (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota) and 9 phyla of protists including 5 algal phyla (Chlorophyta, Haptophyta, Streptophyta, Rhodophyta, and Stramenopiles) and 4 protozoal phyla (Alveolata, Cercozoa, Haplosporidia, and Radiolaria) including 47 orders (12 fungi, 35 protists). Entorrhizales of fungi and 18 orders of protists were detected in marine sponges for the first time. Particularly, Tilletiales of fungi and Chlorocystidales of protists were detected for the first time in marine habitats. Though Ascomycota, Alveolata, and Radiolaria were detected in all the 11 sponge species, sponge holobionts have different fungi and protistan communities according to OTU comparison and principal component analysis at the order level. This study provided the first insights into the fungal and protistan communities associated with different marine sponge holobionts using pyrosequencing, thus further extending the knowledge on sponge-associated eukaryotic diversity.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (41176127) and the High-Tech Research and Development Program of China (2013AA092901).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liming He
    • 1
  • Fang Liu
    • 1
  • Valliappan Karuppiah
    • 1
  • Yi Ren
    • 2
  • Zhiyong Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biotechnology Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Majorbio CompanyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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