In a novel study researchers have compared the microbiota of two species of sponges belonging to the genus Mycale from the sub-Antarctic Magellan region and the Western Antarctic Peninsula. High throughput sequencing performed by SciLifeLab National Genomics Infrastructure revealed a remarkable similarity in the microbiota of Mycale (Aegogropila) magellanica and Mycale (Oxymycale) acerata, although they live in geographically distant areas with contrasting environmental conditions.
The most common microbes of the two sponge species were Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, with both species sharing more than 74% of the Operational Taxonomic Unit, OTUs. In contrast, 16% and 10% of the OTUs were found only in either M. magellanica or M. acerata, respectively. These results show a significant overlap among the microbiota of both Mycale species and also suggest the existence of a low level of specificity of the most dominant symbiont groups. The study was coordinated by Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the findings were reported in Peer J.
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