Dr. Michelle Achlatis, University of Amsterdam – 8 June 2022

Coral reef sponges and their symbiosis with photosynthetic microorganisms


On coral reefs, excavating sponges erode and then inhabit coral skeletons, often killing the coral in the process. But what fuels the fast growth of these sponges? In a series of experiments, we found that some of these sponges are sun-driven: photosynthesis by symbiotic dinoflagellates inside their body is key to their success. In fact, although commonly celebrated as efficient heterotrophs, various other sponge types also appear to benefit from photosynthetic symbionts. This talk highlights the role of photosynthesis in one of the oldest animal holobionts.

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   8 June 2022

Time       :  15.45 hours

Location:  Online