Diversity in the globally intertwined giant barrel sponge species complex
This thesis describes the genetic and prokaryotic diversity of giant barrel sponges.
- Swierts, T.
- 17 December 2019
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
This thesis describes the genetic and prokaryotic diversity of giant barrel sponges. Although it was originally believed that the giant barrel sponges in the AtlanticOcean and the Indo-Pacific Ocean were two different species, our analyses showed thatthere are several species in both ocean basins. Even more remarkable, is that each species is most closely related to a species in the other ocean basin. According to our analysis, there are threegiant barrel sponge species in the Atlantic Ocean, and, at least, six in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Sponges house a large and diverse community of microorganisms. It is generally believed thatthese microorganisms play a central role in the physiological processes in the host. It appears that the region in which a giant barrel sponge occursmainly determines the composition of their microbial community. However, if you lookat a smaller scale within a region, for example within one reef or around an island suchas Curaçao, it appears that not only is the geographical location important, but the hostspecies to which an individual belongs also plays an important role.