AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractIn healthy sponges, microbes have been shown to account for up to 40 % of tissues. The majority of these are thought to originate from survivors evading digestion and immune responses of the sponge and growing and residing in the microenvironments of the mesophyll. Although a large percentage of these microbes are likely commensals, they may also include potentially pathogenic agents, which under specific conditions, such as temperature stress, may cause disease. Here we report a novel disease (sponge necrosis syndrome) that is severely affecting populations of the sponge Callyspongia (Euplacella) aff biru. Both ITS fungal and 16S rDNA bacterial diversities were assessed in healthy and diseased individuals, highlighting six potential primary causal agents for this new disease: two bacteria, a Rhodobacteraceae sp. and a cyanobacterium, Hormoscilla spongeliae (formally identified as Oscillatoria spongeliae), and four fungi, a Ascomycota sp., a Pleosporales sp., a Rhabdocline sp., and a Clasosporium sp. Furthermore, histological analysis showed the dominance of fungal hyphae rather than bacteria throughout the disease lesion, which was absent or rare in healthy tissues. Inoculation trails showed that only a combination of one bacterium and one fungus could replicate the disease, fulfilling Henle–Koch’s postulates and showing that this sponge disease is caused by a poly-microbial consortium.
CitationSweet, M. et al (2015) 'A novel sponge disease caused by a consortium of micro-organisms' , Coral Reefs, 34 (3):871.