Archaeal and bacterial diversity and community composition from 18 phylogenetically divergent sponge species in Vietnam

Ton That Huu Dat*, Georg Steinert, Nguyen Thi Kim Cuc, Hauke Smidt, Detmer Sipkema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Sponge-associated prokaryotic diversity has been studied from a wide range of marine environments across the globe. However, for certain regions, e.g., Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore, an overview of the sponge-associated prokaryotic communities is still pending. In this study we characterized the prokaryotic communities from 27 specimens, comprising 18 marine sponge species, sampled from the central coastal region of Vietnam. Illumina MiSeq sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene fragments was used to investigate spongeassociated bacterial and archaeal diversity. Overall, 14 bacterial phyla and one archaeal phylum were identified among all 27 samples. The phylum Proteobacteria was present in all sponges and the most prevalent phylum in 15 out of 18 sponge species, albeit with pronounced differences at the class level. In contrast, Chloroflexi was the most abundant phylum in Halichondria sp., whereas Spirastrella sp. and Dactylospongia sp. were dominated by Actinobacteria. Several bacterial phyla such as Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Deferribacteres, Gemmatimonadetes, and Nitrospirae were found in two-thirds of the sponge species. Moreover, the phylum Thaumarchaeota (Archaea), which is known to comprise nitrifying archaea, was highly abundant among the majority of the 18 investigated sponge species. Altogether, this study demonstrates that the diversity of prokaryotic communities associated with Vietnamese sponges is comparable to spongeprokaryotic assemblages from well-documented regions. Furthermore, the phylogenetically divergent sponges hosted species-specific prokaryotic communities, thus demonstrating the influence of host identity on the composition and diversity of the associated communities. Therefore, this high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon analysis of Vietnamese sponge-prokaryotic communities provides a foundation for future studies on sponge symbiont function and sponge-derived bioactive compounds from this region.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4970
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018


  • 16S rRNA
  • Porifera
  • Prokaryotic diversity
  • Symbiosis
  • Vietnam


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