Date of Award
Master of Science - Biology
Alexandra Van Kley
James Van Kley
Lake Baikal is the oldest known lake and a unique ecosystem, home to several species of fresh water sponge. A disease outbreak affecting the dominant species, Lubormirskia baialensis, was recently reported. The cause of the disease has not been determined but one of the current hypothesis is that the increase in methane concentration is correlated to the disease outbreak. This pilot study characterized the microbiomes of sick and healthy sponges through the use of 16S rRNA sequencing. Sick sponge microbiomes shared a conserved group of taxa while the healthy sponge microbiomes had greater diversity. Indicator species analysis identified two significant taxa in the sick sponges that are acidophilic. There was also a decrease of methanotroph taxa in the sick sponge samples compared to the healthy sponge samples which suggested methane was not associated with the disease outbreak. However decreased pH may be a factor related to Red Sponge Disease.
Rorex, Colin, "Changes in the microbial community of Lubomirskia baicalensis affected by Red Sponge Disease" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 189.
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