Microbial Diversity in Marine Sponges from Irish Waters

Microbial Diversity in Marine Sponges from Irish Waters

Funding Body (EPA, FP7, etc): The Marine Institute (Beaufort Marine Research Awards)

Project type (PhD, post-doc, etc): PhD

Period (start to end): 2008-12

Research: Stephen Jackson

Project Description

Previous work here at the ERI has identified a diverse range of microorganisms associated with the marine sponge Haliclona simulans. Other microbial groups (e.g. diatoms, archaea, Poribacteria) have been observed in other sponge species and the initial part of this project will be to determine if these groups are present in H.simulans. Subsequently the microbial diversity present in a range of sponge species collected in Irish waters will be analysed to

·   determine the diversity present

·   to compare microbial diversity between sponge species

·   determine the culturable diversity present in different sponge species, and

·   the targeted isolation of particular microbial groups from sponges

Metagenomic techniques will be employed to attempt to access the full microbial diversity present in the sponges. Functional metagenomic screens will be employed to screen for the presence of activities of biotechnological relevance (e.g. enzymes, antibiotics).

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork