Ute Hentschel Humeida

Marine sponge symbioses: From microbial diversity and function to experimental manipulation

Ute Hentschel Humeida

/Kiel [DE]

The recognition that all higher organisms live in symbiotic association with microorganisms has opened new perspectives in biology. Marine sponges are excellent examples of such host-microbe symbioses, because many species harbour enormously dense and diverse communities of symbiotic microorganisms in their tissues. More than 40 bacterial phyla and candidate phyla as well as two archaeal lineages representing potentially thousands of symbiont lineages per sponge individual have been recorded. This diverse array of microbial and phage/viral communities has received considerable research attention over the last two decades and the mechanisms of interaction between the animal and its microbial symbiont consortia are beginning to be understood. Collectively, our effort has not only exposed the biodiversity aspects of sponge-microbe symbioses but more fundamentally how they function, evolve, and influence marine habitats. This presentation will focus on recent functional insights into sponge symbioses and on efforts to develop sponges as experimental models for marine host-microbe symbioses.


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