Molecular biodiversity of Red Sea demosponges

Sponges are important constituents of coral reef ecosystems, including those around the Arabian Peninsula. Despite their importance, our knowledge on demosponge diversity in this area is insufficient to recognize, for example, faunal changes caused by anthropogenic disturbances. We here report the first assessment of demosponge molecular biodiversity from Arabia, with focus on the Saudi Arabian Red Sea, based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal molecular markers gathered in the framework of the Sponge Barcoding Project. We use a rapid molecular screening approach on Arabian demosponge collections and analyze results in comparison against published material in terms of biodiversity. We use a variable region of 28S rDNA, applied for the first time in the assessment of demosponge molecular diversity. Our data constitutes a solid foundation for a future more comprehensive understanding of sponge biodiversity of the Red Sea and adjacent waters.

Molecular biodiversity of Red Sea demosponges 2016 Marine Pollution Bulletin

This publication is dedicated to Michael Türkay, who sadly passed away while the manuscript was in review. We would like to thank the Senckenberg Research Institute, in particular Michael Türkay and Andreas Broesing, and the King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, for enabling and supporting the collections, furthermore the team of the Red Sea Biodiversity Surveys in 2012 and 2013 for their help with sampling, in particular Temir Britajev, Mohsen M. Elsherbiny, Götz B. Reinicke, Vassily Spiridonov and Bernd Werding. For logistical assistance with the Thuwal region sampling, we thank the crew of the M/Y Dream Island (Dream Divers, Jeddah), Jessica Bouwmeester, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab. Angelo Poliseno and Gaurav Shimpi are thanked for assistance with the upload to the Sponge Barcoding Database. The collaboration between King Abdulaziz University (Faculty of Marine Sciences) and the Senckenberg Research Institute in the framework of the Red Sea Biodiversity Project was funded by KAU (GRANT NO. D/1/432-DSR). Funding for this study was also provided by KAUST (awards CRG-1-2012-BER-002 and baseline research funds to MLB). Additional support was provided by the KAUST Red Sea Research Center and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to DE (ER611/3-1) and GW (Wo896/15-1).

Elsevier BV

Marine Pollution Bulletin


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