Oceanographic setting influences the prokaryotic community and metabolome in deep-sea sponges

Karin Steffen, Anak Agung Gede Indraningrat, Ida Erngren, Jakob Haglöf, Leontine E. Becking, Hauke Smidt, Igor Yashayaev, Ellen Kenchington, Curt Pettersson, Paco Cárdenas*, Detmer Sipkema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Marine sponges (phylum Porifera) are leading organisms for the discovery of bioactive compounds from nature. Their often rich and species-specific microbiota is hypothesised to be producing many of these compounds. Yet, environmental influences on the sponge-associated microbiota and bioactive compound production remain elusive. Here, we investigated the changes of microbiota and metabolomes in sponges along a depth range of 1232 m. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and untargeted metabolomics, we assessed prokaryotic and chemical diversities in three deep-sea sponge species: Geodia barretti, Stryphnus fortis, and Weberella bursa. Both prokaryotic communities and metabolome varied significantly with depth, which we hypothesized to be the effect of different water masses. Up to 35.5% of microbial ASVs (amplicon sequence variants) showed significant changes with depth while phylum-level composition of host microbiome remained unchanged. The metabolome varied with depth, with relative quantities of known bioactive compounds increasing or decreasing strongly. Other metabolites varying with depth were compatible solutes regulating osmolarity of the cells. Correlations between prokaryotic community and the bioactive compounds in G. barretti suggested members of Acidobacteria, Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, or an unclassified prokaryote as potential producers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3356
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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