BIOCHEMICAL AND BACTERIAL COMMUNITY CHANGES DURING THE COURSE OF PATHOGENESIS IN THE SPONGE DISEASE APLYSINA RED BAND SYNDROME
Sponges are essential ecological components of coral reefs, and like corals, sponge diseases have been reported with increasing frequency worldwide. Aplysina Red Band Syndrome (ARBS) is widespread across the Caribbean basin, affecting up to 10% of Aplysina cauliformis, one of the most common members of the Caribbean sponge community. ARBS significantly impacts sponge physiology and, ultimately, sponge growth, survival and population dynamics. ARBS is highly transmissible via sponge-to-sponge contact, enabling us to identify biochemical and bacterial community changes in sponges over the course of pathogenesis. We performed 9-day contact experiments with healthy-diseased and healthy-healthy control treatments in the Bahamas in January and July. We compared individual sponges sampled initially and at successive time points to characterize short-term temporal changes in concentrations of chlorophyll a (associated with the loss of cyanobacterial symbionts), total protein, secondary metabolites, and heat shock protein, as well as bacterial assemblages. All healthy sponges in contact with diseased sponges developed ARBS by day 9 and observed changes correspond with the timing of ARBS development. Several biochemical markers, and bacterial assemblages, of initially healthy sponges that developed ARBS during the experiment shifted towards those of naturally diseased sponges over this time period. This represents one of few studies to evaluate temporal changes over the course of pathogenesis in a marine invertebrate.
Gochfeld, D. J., University of Mississippi, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Olson, J. B., University of Alabama, USA, email@example.com
Easson, C. G., Nova Southeastern University, USA, Cole Easson [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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