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    Host genetics and geography influence microbiome composition in the sponge Ircinia campana

    Griffiths, Sarah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4743-049X, Antwis, Rachael, Lenzi, Luca, Lucaci, Anita, Behringer, Donald, Butler, Mark J and Preziosi, Richard ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0468-6655 (2019) Host genetics and geography influence microbiome composition in the sponge Ircinia campana. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88 (11). pp. 1684-1695. ISSN 0021-8790

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    1.Marine sponges are host to large, diverse communities of microorganisms. These microbiomes are distinct among sponge species and from seawater bacterial communities, indicating a key role of host identity in shaping its resident microbial community. However, the factors governing intraspecific microbiome variability are underexplored, and may shed light on the evolutionary and ecological relationships between host and microbiome. 2.Here, we examined the influence of genetic variation and geographic location on the composition of the Ircinia campana microbiome. 3.We developed new microsatellite markers to genotype I. campana from two locations in the Florida Keys, USA, and characterised their microbiomes using V4 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. 4.We show that microbial community composition and diversity is influenced by host genotype, with more genetically similar sponges hosting more similar microbial communities. We also found that although I. campana was not genetically differentiated between sites, microbiome composition differed by location. 5.Our results demonstrate that both host genetics and geography influence the composition of the sponge microbiome. Host genotypic influence on microbiome composition may be due to stable vertical transmission of the microbial community from parent to offspring, making microbiomes more similar by descent. Alternatively, sponge genotypic variation may reflect variation in functional traits that influence the acquisition of environmental microbes. This study reveals drivers of microbiome variation within and among locations, and shows the importance of intraspecific variability in mediating eco‐evolutionary dynamics of host‐associated microbiomes.

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