Slatkovodni sunđeri (Porifera, Spongillidae) zapadnog Balkana i Panonske nizije: morfološko-genetička studija
Freshwater Sponges (Porifera, Spongillidae) of the Western Balkan and Pannonian Plain: a morpho-genetic Study
Doctoral thesis (Published version)
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Introduction Freshwater sponges represent a peculiar group of benthic organisms with an important role in aquatic ecosystems. The aims of this study were to identify different species of freshwater sponges in lentic and lotic waterbodies of Western Balkan and Pannonian Plain and to assess their overall distribution in the studied region. Their distribution in relation to physico-chemical characteristics of the water bodies and to the presence of pollutants was assessed as well. Materials and Methods The investigation covered 171 localities on the Danube and Sava, and on rivers and lakes of Serbia, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro. Sponge identification was done by light and scanning electron microscopy of skeletal elements (spicules), obtained after sponge digestion in HNO3. Sponge identification was also done by genetic analysis, including sponge DNA isolation followed by PCR amplification of the 3D region of 28S rDNA and its sequencing. Data were statistically analyzed in SPSS. Results During this research 168 samples of sponges have been collected. In the studied area, the following five Porifera species (ordered by decreasing incidence) have been identified, out of six presently extant in Central Europe: Ephydatia fluviatilis, Spongilla lacustris, Ephydatia muelleri, Trochospongilla horrida and Eunapius fragilis. Only 25% of explored localities harbored sponges. Sponge abundance and biomass were also very low. Sequencing revealed four new haplotypes. Conclusions Five identified freshwater sponges proved to be scarce and unevenly distributed along the explored region of the Western Balkan and Pannonian plain. Evaluated physico-chemical characteristics and pollutants did not seem to have a major impact on Porifera distribution.
Keywords:Porifera; 28S rDNK; Freshwater sponges; Western Balkan; Pannonian plain; Mineral skeleton; Spicules; Morphology; Hydroecology; Phylogeny
Source:University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology, 2020, 1-92
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