Independent Research: Bianca Zarrella (Vassar College)

biancazarrellaEffects of pumping efficiency on the antibacterial properties of sponges Stove-pipe sponge (Aplysina archeri) and Convoluted barrel sponge (Aplysina lacunose) on Bonaire.

Abstract: The filter feeding mechanism of marine sponges exposes them to water-borne toxins. They have evolved immune systems effective in fighting these pathogens. The antibacterial properties of the sponge’s defense system are effective tools that can be used in medicinal therapies. This study will analyze how the pumping efficiency of the species Stove-pipe sponge (Aplysina archeri) and Convoluted barrel sponge (Aplysina lacunose) affects the antibacterial properties of the sponge. The pumping efficiency of each sponge will be tested using inhale-exhale water sampling (In-Ex), determined by comparing the turbidity of water before it enters and as it exits the sponge. Variation in antibacterial properties will be analyzed by assembling antibiotic assays from sponge extracts. Sponges with high pumping efficiencies may have greater antibacterial properties because the increased filtering rates will expose the sponge to more pathogens. As a result, the sponge must produce effective resistances to the toxins in order to remain healthy. Previous research has shown that A. archeri pumps more efficiently in deep waters, while A. lacunosa pumps better in shallow waters. However, the relationships between these factors and the antibacterial properties of the sponge have not yet been considered. A. archeri should better defend against bacteria in deep waters while A. lacunosa will do so in the shallows. With knowledge on this topic, pharmaceutical companies can continue to compile qualities to formulate an ideal sponge species they should research for medicinal cures.

Want to know more about sponges and their filtering capacity? Bianca will present her work during a public lecture on April 29, 18:30-21:00 at CIEE RSB.

Comments are closed