Happy relationships between marine sponges and sediments - a review and some observations from Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.Being sessile filter feeders, sponges may be disadvantaged by sediments in many ways, e.g. through clogging and burial. However, in order to correctly recognize negative effects of sediments in the field, natural relationships of sponge taxa adapted to a life with sediments need to be understood. The present publication reviews available literature and provides observations on natural and beneficial interactions of sponges with sediments, distinguishing several strategies: (1) Saving energy through sediment incorporation, reducing or replacing spicule production commonly occurs in keratose, verongimorph, tethyid and poecilosclerid sponges, which often received scientific names referring to sediments. (2) Forming sediment crusts externally or embedded in surface tissues reinforces outer layers, provides shade, and for external crusts camouflage and shelter from spongivory and desiccation. External crusts often occur in the tethyids and axinellids, while surface armour is most common in keratose sponges. (3) Anchoring in soft sediments provides a selective advantage for space colonization. This is mainly achieved in the hexactinellid, polymastiid and spirophorine sponges by using spicules (predominantly in deeper water), commonly in endopsammic sponges by rootlets, basal agglutination and basal incorporation of particles, and in various groups by attachment to buried materials (shallow water). (4) Living at least partially embedded in sediments (psammobiosis) appears to be best developed in Oceanapia spp. and bioeroding sponges, generates shelter from various external conditions and reduces the risk of spongivory. Typical morphological characters of sediment-adapted sponges are thus sediment skeletons and surface crusts (reinforcement), stalks and fistules (elevation above sediments), spicule tufts and root-systems (anchoring).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-514
Number of pages22
JournalJMBA Global Marine Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event9th World Sponge Conference: New Frontiers in Sponge Science - Fremantle, Australia
Duration: 3 Nov 20139 Nov 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Happy relationships between marine sponges and sediments - a review and some observations from Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this