(Anti) microbial diversity of marine sponges along a depth gradient

Project

(Anti) microbial diversity of marine sponges along a depth gradient

Research on sponge-associated microbes has mainly focused on shallow water (<30 m), and limited information is available from the microbial community of sponges from the mesophotic area. In this research we investigate the effect of depth on microbial diversity and antimicrobial activity of sponges along a depth gradient focusing on sponge species collected from Curaçao and the Artic region.

This project aims to contribute to fundamental and applied aspects in the field of sponge microbiology. Fundamental aspects of this project will be focused on the investigation of microbial diversity and abundance in marine sponges, particularly a comparison between shallow and deep sea habitats.

From the more applied point of view, this research aims to unravel diversity of gene clusters responsible for the production of antimicrobial compounds in sponge-associated microbes. Through isolation of the responsible microbes or through a combination of cultivation-independent and cultivation-dependent methods, this project is expected to lead to the availability of novel antimicrobial compounds, which may result to the development of novel antibiotics from marine sponges.

Techniques and Methods

  • cultivation of sponge-derived microorganisms
  • antimicrobial assays
  • Genome sequencing
  • microbial diversity analysis