Biogeography and phylogeny of Chondrilla species (Demospongiae) in Australia

K.M. Usher, David Sutton, Simon Toze, John Kuo, J. Fromont

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The biogeography and phylogeny of Chondrilla (Porifera, Demospongiae) species inAustralia is poorly understood. Until the present study was carried out, 4 Chondrilla species werethought to occur in the waters of Australia and its territories: C. australiensis, C. secunda, C. mixtaand C. nucula. However, the type specimen of the latter comes from the Adriatic Sea, and it hasalways been uncertain whether this species is present in Australia. The difficulty in determining thenumber of species of Chondrilla and their biogeography is largely due to the paucity of phenotypiccharacters that are normally used for identification. To clarify the diversity and distribution ofsponges in this genus in Australia, DNA sequence analysis was applied to samples of Chondrilla fromaround Australia and compared to C. nucula from the Mediterranean. Classical taxonomic techniqueswere used to confirm the molecular results. Evidence was found for 3 species of Chondrilla inthe temperate southern oceans of Australia with one, C. australiensis, also extending into tropicalwaters. All 3 species were distinct from C. nucula, which was not found in Australian waters in thisstudy. The distribution of C. australiensis suggests that larvae and/or fragments of this sponge areable to disperse across very large distances around the coastline of Australia. Species identificationbased on direct sequencing of the D2 region in the 28S rDNA and ITS1- 5.8S- ITS2 region was inagreement with results using classical taxonomic techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
JournalMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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