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Screening for Cultivable Species of Marine Sponges (porifera) in an Ecologically Inspired ex situ System

The development of sponges (Porifera) in ex situ cultivation systems is essential to the progress of researches on pharmacology, biomaterials, biomonitoring and conservation. The aim of this study was to provide a long-term ex situ cultivation condition to obtain a representative sponge biomass growth. Among the four species of marine sponges tested, only Haliclona sp. showed an initial growth. The Haliclona sp. was cultivated in a non-axenic ex situ cultivation system for 14 months. An eutrophic tropical environment was reproduced in an aquarium system. In the growth aquarium, a high biomass of interstitial invertebrates, anemones, macro-algae and bacterioplankton was observed. The orthophosphate represented 93.2% of the phosphate form in the growth aquarium and the nitrate was the predominant form of nitrogen, amounting to 68.2%. Nitrate concentration was about 4-fold higher than that of the sampling station, which can be attributed to high nutrient supply and poor denitrification process. Sponge feeding procedures showed an increase of bacterioplankton density during the water resuspension event with a maximum value of 0.86 × 106 cells mL-1, whereas in the non-blowing situation the density was 0.38 × 106 cells mL-1. Growing morphological structures like the osculum and finger-like branching were observed in the explant of Haliclona sp. during the growth experiment. During the 14 months of this experiment, the sponge showed a continuous growth rate of 54.8% when compared to the initial area of the explant. This study could provide new insights into the cultivation process of marine sponge in laboratory in order to obtain a representative biomass growth to support experimental designs, as well as to other potential applications.


Rodrigo Cunha Wanick, Ricardo Pilz Vieira, Ricardo Erthal Santelli, Rodolfo Pinheiro Da Rocha
Paranhos and Cristiano Carvalho Coutinho

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