Giant barrel sponges in diverse habitats: a story about the metabolome
Marine sponges are important members of reef ecosystems, as they play ecological roles that are essential for the health of the reef.
- Bayona Maldonado, L.M.
- 22 April 2021
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
Marine sponges are important members of reef ecosystems, as they play ecological roles that are essential for the health of the reef. From a chemical perspective, sponges have been widely studied, showing great chemical diversity with biological activity, although this chemical diversity can often not be linked to for instance variation in environmental conditions experienced by sponges. Metabolomics, with its holistic overview of the metabolites present in samples, has provided new tools to gain insight into the function of metabolites in the intricate relationship between sponges and their environment. Among sponges, giant barrel sponges have stood out for their predominance in many reefs, their longevity and the fact that they are widely spread across oceans. this thesis showed how environmental, genetic and biological factors individually or as a result of their interaction can influence the metabolome of giant barrel sponges. This is only the first step towards a better understanding of the role that chemical compounds play in interactions between sponges and the surrounding environment. The advances in this field will rely, among others, on the development of technologies that would allow real time measurement of the metabolome and the study of the interaction between the metabolome and other omics.