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The encrusting sponge Halisarca laxus: Population genetics and association with the ascidian Pyura spinifera

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The encrusting sponge Halisarca laxus forms a seemingly obligate association with the stalked solitary ascidian Pyura spinifera. In 1991 we examined spatial variation and short-term temporal variation in this association at three neighbouring sites in southeastern Australia. This sponge dominated the surface of almost all the 500 individual ascidians examined, with mean cover usually exceeding 90%. This pattern was consistent among sites and throughout the year of the study. The domination of a small isolated patch of habitable substratum by a sponge is most unusual, given that they are regarded as relatively poor recruiters. To understand how this association might be maintained, we determined the underlying genotypic diversity of the sponge population using starch-gel electrophoresis. P. spinifera is a clump-forming ascidian and usually occurs in clumps of up to 22 individuals. Electrophoretic surveys, based on six variable allozyme loci, revealed that at a total of five plots within three neighbouring New South Wales populations, single sponge genotypes may cover entire ascidian clumps; although a clump sometimes played host to more than one sponge clone. Allele frequencies (averaged across four loci that appear to conform to Mendelian inheritance) showed little variation among populations (standardised genetic variance, F(ST) = 0.013). Nevertheless, sponge populations were genotypically diverse, with samples from 63 of 172 individual clumps displaying unique 'clonal' genotypes. Moreover, multi- locus genotypic diversity within all sites approached the level expected for sexual reproduction with random mating. Taken together, these data imply that H. laxus produces sexually-derived larvae that are at least moderately widely dispersed. Given the relatively small size of the patches that this sponge inhabits, we also conclude that these larvae are good colonists and good spatial competitors on their ascidian hosts.

Publication Date


  • 1996

Citation


  • Davis, A. R., Ayre, D. J., Billingham, M. R., Styan, C. A., & White, G. A. (1996). The encrusting sponge Halisarca laxus: Population genetics and association with the ascidian Pyura spinifera. Marine Biology, 126(1), 27-33. doi:10.1007/BF00571374

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0029660325

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 33

Volume


  • 126

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • The encrusting sponge Halisarca laxus forms a seemingly obligate association with the stalked solitary ascidian Pyura spinifera. In 1991 we examined spatial variation and short-term temporal variation in this association at three neighbouring sites in southeastern Australia. This sponge dominated the surface of almost all the 500 individual ascidians examined, with mean cover usually exceeding 90%. This pattern was consistent among sites and throughout the year of the study. The domination of a small isolated patch of habitable substratum by a sponge is most unusual, given that they are regarded as relatively poor recruiters. To understand how this association might be maintained, we determined the underlying genotypic diversity of the sponge population using starch-gel electrophoresis. P. spinifera is a clump-forming ascidian and usually occurs in clumps of up to 22 individuals. Electrophoretic surveys, based on six variable allozyme loci, revealed that at a total of five plots within three neighbouring New South Wales populations, single sponge genotypes may cover entire ascidian clumps; although a clump sometimes played host to more than one sponge clone. Allele frequencies (averaged across four loci that appear to conform to Mendelian inheritance) showed little variation among populations (standardised genetic variance, F(ST) = 0.013). Nevertheless, sponge populations were genotypically diverse, with samples from 63 of 172 individual clumps displaying unique 'clonal' genotypes. Moreover, multi- locus genotypic diversity within all sites approached the level expected for sexual reproduction with random mating. Taken together, these data imply that H. laxus produces sexually-derived larvae that are at least moderately widely dispersed. Given the relatively small size of the patches that this sponge inhabits, we also conclude that these larvae are good colonists and good spatial competitors on their ascidian hosts.

Publication Date


  • 1996

Citation


  • Davis, A. R., Ayre, D. J., Billingham, M. R., Styan, C. A., & White, G. A. (1996). The encrusting sponge Halisarca laxus: Population genetics and association with the ascidian Pyura spinifera. Marine Biology, 126(1), 27-33. doi:10.1007/BF00571374

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0029660325

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 33

Volume


  • 126

Issue


  • 1