The fungus Aspergillus sydowii is the causative agent of epidemics that affect gorgonian corals (sea fans) and has significantly affected their populations in the Caribbean Sea. We have isolated a strain of A. sydowii from healthy marine sponges (Spongia obscura) collected in Bahamian inshore waters. After its identification on the basis of morphology, molecular markers and chemical profiling followed by pathogenicity tests, we found this strain to be highly similar to a strain isolated from diseased coral, and have shown the capacity of this fungus to persist in sponge environment. Our findings suggest that sponges have the possibility of being reservoirs of a potential marine pathogen.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography Program (to JRP, OCE-0095724 and 0550468, including UNOLS ship support on the RV Seward Johnson), by the US–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF 200-321) and the Israel Science Foundation. We thank the government of the Bahamas for permission to perform research in their territorial waters.
- Chemical ecology
- Gorgonia ventalina
- Spongia obscura