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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2008 Jan-Feb;93(1-2):163-74. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Phylogenetic diversity of culturable fungi associated with the Hawaiian Sponges Suberites zeteki and Gelliodes fibrosa.

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Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


Sponges are well documented to harbor large amounts of microbes. Both culture-dependent and molecular approaches have revealed remarkable bacterial diversity in marine sponges. Fungi are commonly isolated from marine sponges, yet no reports on phylogenetic diversity of sponge-inhabiting fungi exist. In this report, we investigated the phylogenetic diversity of culturable fungi from the Hawaiian alien marine sponges Suberites zeteki and Gelliodes fibrosa. A total of 44 independent isolates were recovered from these two sponge species, representing 7 orders and 22 genera of Ascomycota. The majority (58%) of fungal isolates from S. zeteki resided in the Pleosporales group, while the predominant isolates (52%) from G. fibrosa were members of the Hypocreales group. Though differing in fungal species composition and structure, culturable communities of these two sponges displayed similar phylogenetic diversity. At the genus level, only two genera Penicillium and Trichoderma in the Eurotiales and Hypocreales orders, respectively, were present in both sponge species. The other genera of the fungal isolates were associated with either S. zeteki or G. fibrosa. Some of these fungal genera had been isolated from sponges collected in other marine habitats, but more than half of these genera were identified for the first time in these two marine sponges. Overall, the diversity of culturable fungal communities from these two sponge species is much higher than that observed in studies of marine sponges from other areas. This is the first report of phylogenetic diversity of marine sponge-associated fungi and adds one more dimension to our current understanding of the phylogenetic diversity of sponge-symbiotic microbes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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