Sponges present a core prokaryotic community stable across Tropical Western Atlantic

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Aug 20;835:155145. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155145. Epub 2022 Apr 13.


Sponges are among the earliest lineages of metazoans, with first fossil records dated back to 890 million years ago. All sponge species present associations with microorganisms to some extension, which influence sponges' survival and adaptation. Sponge species can be divided into two categories, Low Microbial Abundance and High Microbial Abundance, depending on the abundance of the microbial community that they host. Monanchora arbuscula (a Low Microbial Abundance sponge species) and Xestospongia muta (a High Microbial Abundance sponge species) are sponges with widespread distribution in the Tropical Western Atlantic. Despite previous studies on the major features of these species, little is known whether M. arcuscula and X. muta prokaryotic communities are stable across vast geographic regions. We obtained a total of ~9.26 million 16S rRNA gene Illumina sequences for M. arbuscula samples collected at seven locations and for X. muta samples collected at three locations, corresponding to five ecoregions of the Caribbean and the Southwestern Atlantic (N = 105, 39 from M. arcuscula and 66 from X. muta). These samples reflected different ecological strategies for prokaryotic communities assembly, since the core prokaryotic communities of M. arbuscula are more heterotrophic and shared with different sources (corals, sponges, seawater, sediments), while X. muta has more significant photosynthetic prokaryotic communities, mainly outsourced from other sponges. Results of M. arbuscula and X. muta prokaryotic communities analysis demonstrate that both sponge species have core prokaryotic communities stable across a vast geographic area (> 8000 km), and the world's most notable coastal marine biogeographic filter, the Amazon River Mouth, in spite of the significant differences found among transient prokaryotic communities of both sponge species.

Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; Biogeographic filter; Brazil; Caribbean; Metabarcoding; Microbial diversity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthozoa*
  • Biodiversity
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Seawater
  • Xestospongia* / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S