Data_Sheet_1_Sponges and Their Microbiomes Show Similar Community Metrics Across Impacted and Well-Preserved Reefs.PDF
Sponge diversity has been reported to decrease from well-preserved to polluted environments, but whether diversity and intra-species variation of their associated microbiomes also change as function of environmental quality remains unknown. Our study aimed to assess whether microbiome composition and structure are related to the proliferation of some sponges and not others under degraded conditions. We characterized the most frequent sponges and their associated bacteria in two close areas (impacted and well-preserved) of Nha Trang Bay (Indo-Pacific). Sponge assemblages were richer and more diverse in the well-preserved reefs, but more abundant (individuals/m. transect) in the impacted environments, where two species (Clathria reinwardti and Amphimedon paraviridis) dominated. Sponge microbiomes from the polluted zones had, in general, lower bacterial diversity and core size and consequently, higher intra-species dispersion than microbiomes of sponges from the well-preserved environments. Microbial communities reflect the reduction of diversity and richness shown by their host sponges. In this sense, sponges with less complex and more variable microbiomes proliferate under degraded environmental conditions, following the ecological paradigm that negatively correlates community diversity and environmental degradation. Thereby, the diversity and structure of sponge microbiomes might indirectly determine the presence and proliferation of sponge species in certain habitats.