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Stable and Enriched Cenarchaeum symbiosum and Uncultured Betaproteobacteria HF1 in the Microbiome of the Mediterranean Sponge Haliclona fulva (Demospongiae: Haplosclerida)

García-Bonilla, Erika, Brandão, Pedro F. B., Pérez, Thierry, Junca, Howard
Microbial ecology 2019 v.77 no.1 pp. 25-36
Archaea, Haliclona, Nitrosomonadales, aquariums, caves, community structure, electron microscopy, excretion, lifestyle, microbial communities, microbiome, microorganisms, phylotype, plankton, ribotypes, seawater, symbionts, symbiosis, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea
Sponges harbor characteristic microbiomes derived from symbiotic relationships shaping their lifestyle and survival. Haliclona fulva is encrusting marine sponge species dwelling in coralligenous accretions or semidark caves of the Mediterranean Sea and the near Atlantic Ocean. In this work, we characterized the abundance and core microbial community composition found in specimens of H. fulva by means of electron microscopy and 16S amplicon Illumina sequencing. We provide evidence of its low microbial abundance (LMA) nature. We found that the H. fulva core microbiome is dominated by sequences belonging to the orders Nitrosomonadales and Cenarchaeales. Seventy percent of the reads assigned to these phylotypes grouped in a very small number of high-frequency operational taxonomic units, representing niche-specific species Cenarchaeum symbiosum and uncultured Betaproteobacteria HF1, a new eubacterial ribotype variant found in H. fulva. The microbial composition of H. fulva is quite distinct from those reported in sponge species of the same Haliclona genus. We also detected evidence of an excretion/capturing loop between these abundant microorganisms and planktonic microbes by analyzing shifts in seawater planktonic microbial content exposed to healthy sponge specimens maintained in aquaria. Our results suggest that horizontal transmission is very likely the main mechanism for symbionts’ acquisition by H. fulva. So far, this is the first shallow water sponge species harboring such a specific and predominant assemblage composed of these eubacterial and archaeal ribotypes. Our data suggests that this symbiotic relationship is very stable over time, indicating that the identified core microbial symbionts may play key roles in the holobiont functioning.