Do hexactinellids structure antarctic sponge associations?

Barthel, Dagmar (1992) Do hexactinellids structure antarctic sponge associations? Ophelia, 36 (2). pp. 111-118. DOI 10.1080/00785326.1992.10430362.

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This paper presents an idea on the possible structuring effect of hex actinellids on Antarctic sponge associations. To this end, information derived from underwater photography performed on the eastern Weddell Sea shelf is reported and original trawl data are presented.

Underwater photography shows the existence of different sponge associations; species poor associations are connected to soft bottom, species rich associations exist on substrates characterized by bryozoan debris and especially sponge spicule mats. The trawl. catches show differences in the population structure of a hexactinellid sponge, Rassella racovitzae Topsent at two stations, distinguishable from each other by substrate structure. On average small and therefore probably young specimens were found on bryozoan debris, while a population with larger and probably older specimens was found on solid hexactinellid spicule mats. These observations form the basis for the hypothesis that hexactinellid sponges are a major biological structuring agent for Antarctic sponge associations; they colonize soft substrate and bryozoan debris dominated areas and subsequently change the quality of the substrate by spicule deposition. The ensuing spicule mats are a suitable settling ground for a large number of demosponge species dependent on hard substrates. Mass occurrences of hexactinellids are also found in areas other than Antarctica. The phenomenon recognized in the Weddell Sea probably occurs more widely spread.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Antarctica, hexactinellids, spicule mats, sponge associations
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1080/00785326.1992.10430362
ISSN: 0078-5326
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2018 08:09
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2018 08:09

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