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Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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The Culturable Mycobiome of Mesophotic Agelas oroides: Constituents and Changes Following Sponge Transplantation to Shallow Water

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Marine sponges harbor a diverse array of microorganisms and the composition of the microbial community has been suggested to be linked to holo-biont health. Most of the attention concerning sponge mycobiomes has been given to sponges present in shallow depths. Here, we describe the presence of 146 culturable mycobiome taxa isolated from mesophotic niche (100 m depth)-inhabiting samples of Agelas oroides, in the Mediterranean Sea. We identify some potential in vitro interactions between several A. oroides-associated fungi and show that sponge meso-hyl extract, but not its predominantly collagen-rich part, is sufficient to support hyphal growth. We demonstrate that changes in the diversity of culturable mycobiome constituents occur following sponge transplantation from its original mesophotic habitat to shallow (10 m) waters, where historically (60 years ago) this species was found. We conclude that among the 30 fungal genera identified as associated with A. oroides, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Trichoderma constitute the core mycobiome of A. oroides, and that they persist even when the sponge is transplanted to a suboptimal environment, indicative of the presence of constant, as well as dynamic, components of the sponge mycobiome. Other genera seemed more depth-related and appeared or disappeared upon host's transfer from 100 to 10 m.