Hilde Angermeier

University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (4)8.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report on a novel sponge disease, hereafter termed 'sponge white patch' (SWP), affecting the Caribbean sponge species Amphimedon compressa. SWP is characterized by distinctive white patches of variable size that are found irregularly on the branches of diseased sponges. Nearly 20% of the population of A. compressa at Dry Rocks Reef, Florida, USA, showed symptoms of SWP at the time of investigation (November 2007-July 2010). Approximately 21% of the biomass of SWP individuals was bleached, as determined by volume displacement. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed severe degradation of bleached tissues. Transmission electron microscopy of the same tissues revealed the presence of a spongin-boring bacterial morphotype that had previously been implicated in sponge disease (Webster et al. 2002; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 232:305-309). This particular morphotype was identified in 8 of 9 diseased A. compressa individuals investigated in this study. A close relative of the aforementioned disease-causing alphaproteobacterium was also isolated from bleached tissues of A. compressa. However, whether the spongin-boring bacteria are true pathogens or merely opportunistic colonizers remains to be investigated. Molecular fingerprinting by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) demonstrated a distinct shift from the microbiota of healthy A. compressa to a heterogeneous mixture of environmental bacteria, including several phylotypes previously implicated in sponge stress or coral disease. Nevertheless, tissue transplantation experiments conducted in the field failed to demonstrate infectivity from diseased to healthy sponges, leaving the cause of SWP in A. compressa to be identified.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine sponge orange band (SOB) disease affecting the prominent Caribbean sponge Xestospongia muta. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed that SOB is accompanied by the massive destruction of the pinacoderm. Chlorophyll a content and the main secondary metabolites, tetrahydrofurans, characteristic of X. muta, were significantly lower in bleached than in healthy tissues. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis using cyanobacteria-specific 16S rRNA gene primers revealed a distinct shift from the Synechococcus/Prochlorococcus clade of sponge symbionts towards several clades of unspecific cyanobacteria, including lineages associated with coral disease (i.e. Leptolyngbya sp.). Underwater infection experiments were conducted by transplanting bleached cores into healthy individuals, but revealed no signs of SOB development. This study provided no evidence for the involvement of a specific microbial pathogen as an etiologic agent of disease; hence, the cause of SOB disease in X. muta remains unidentified.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · FEMS Microbiology Ecology
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    ABSTRACT: Many marine sponges, hereafter termed high-microbial-abundance (HMA) sponges, harbor large and complex microbial consortia, including bacteria and archaea, within their mesohyl matrices. To investigate vertical microbial transmission as a strategy to maintain these complex associations, an extensive phylogenetic analysis was carried out with the 16S rRNA gene sequences of reproductive (n = 136) and adult (n = 88) material from five different Caribbean species, as well as all published 16S rRNA gene sequences from sponge offspring (n = 116). The overall microbial diversity, including members of at least 13 bacterial phyla and one archaeal phylum, in sponge reproductive stages is high. In total, 28 vertical-transmission clusters, defined as clusters of phylotypes that are found both in adult sponges and their offspring, were identified. They are distributed among at least 10 bacterial phyla and one archaeal phylum, demonstrating that the complex adult microbial community is collectively transmitted through reproductive stages. Indications of host-species specificity and cospeciation were not observed. Mechanistic insights were provided using a combined electron microscopy and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis, and an indirect mechanism of vertical transmission via nurse cells is proposed for the oviparous sponge Ectyoplasia ferox. Based on these phylogenetic and mechanistic results, we suggest the following symbiont transmission model: entire microbial consortia are vertically transmitted in sponges. While vertical transmission is clearly present, additional environmental transfer between adult individuals of the same and even different species might obscure possible signals of cospeciation. We propose that associations of HMA sponges with highly sponge-specific microbial communities are maintained by this combination of vertical and horizontal symbiont transmission.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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    Kristina Bayer · Christine Gernert · Hilde Angermeier

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