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Contribution to the knowledge on the distribution of freshwater sponges – the Danube and Sava rivers case study

Stefan Andjus, Nadja Nikolic, Valerija Dobricic, Ana Marjanovic, Zoran Gacic, Goran Brankovic, Maja Rakovic, Momir Paunovic
  • Nadja Nikolic
    University of Belgrade, Department of Human Genetics, Serbia
  • Valerija Dobricic
    University of Belgrade, Laboratory for Genetics, Serbia
  • Ana Marjanovic
    University of Belgrade, Laboratory for Genetics, Serbia
  • Zoran Gacic
    University of Belgrade, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Serbia
  • Goran Brankovic
    University of Belgrade, Department of Materials Science, Serbia
  • Maja Rakovic
    Institute of Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovic", University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Momir Paunovic
    Institute of Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovic", University of Belgrade, Serbia

Abstract

Sponges in the large rivers within the Danube River Basin (DRB) have not been adequately studied. Hence, the aim of this work was to undertake an investigation on the distribution of sponge species in the Danube and Sava rivers. Out of 88 localities covered by the study, sponges were found at 25 sites only (46 samples in total). By using morphological (light and scanning electron microscopy) and genetic (28S rDNA sequencing) analysis, four species were determined: Ephydatia fluviatilis (Linnaeus, 1759), Spongilla lacustris (Linnaeus, 1759), Eunapius fragilis (Leidy, 1851), Trochospongilla horrida Weltner, 1893. In the Danube, the predominant species was found to be E. fluviatilis making approximately 80% of collected samples, while in the Sava River S. lacustris dominated, representing 46% of the river sponges. Our work represents one of the few studies on freshwater sponges within the DRB from long stretches of the large lowland rivers (more than 2500 km of the Danube River and about 900 km of the Sava River). Moreover, molecular analysis for the identification of freshwater sponges was applied on the material collected from a wide area, thus contributing to the systematic studies on the distribution and abundance of the European freshwater invertebrate fauna in general.

Keywords

Freshwater Porifera; distribution; Danube; Sava; spicules.

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Submitted: 2017-06-15 00:31:49
Published: 2017-12-21 13:29:20
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Copyright (c) 2017 Stefan Andjus, Nadja Nikolic, Valerija Dobricic, Ana Marjanovic, Zoran Gacic, Goran Brankovic, Maja Rakovic, Momir Paunovic

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