Tropical Pacific Invertebrates

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A total of 7 invertebrates were counted from analysis of the video collected on this project. Larger organisms were counted and placed into 27 taxonomic groups to characterize the deepwater invertebrate fauna of Las Gemelas Seamount and Isla del Coco National Park. This lower level of evenness in the community at Las Gemelas was a result of high densities of a few dominant species groups, specifically sea urchins and black corals.

We also evaluated invertebrate percent cover at both Isla del Coco and Las Gemelas Seamount with respect to habitat type, slope and rugosity. Results indicated that highly rugose habitats contained the highest frequencies of all invertebrates at both sites, with the exception of glass sponges and polychaetes at Isla del Coco, which were found in greater quantities at intermediate levels of rugosity. Science — CrossRef Google Scholar. B Mar Sci — Google Scholar. Biol Bull — Google Scholar. Biol Bull —75 Google Scholar. Proceedings of the 6th Pacific congress on marine science and technology, Townsville, Karsten U, Wiencke C, Kirst GO Dimethylsulphoniopropionate DMSP accumulation in green macroalgae from polar to temperate regions: interactive effects of light versus salinity and light versus temperature.

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Phycologia — Google Scholar. Knowlton N, Rohwer F Multispecies microbial mutualisms: the host as habitat. Kozloff E Invertebrates. Saunders, Philadelphia Google Scholar. Lewis C, Coffroth M The acquisition of exogenous algal symbionts by an octocoral after bleaching. Reed RH a Measurement and osmotic significance of beta-dimethylsulfoniopropionate in marine macroalgae.

Mar Biol Lett — Google Scholar. Tandy from marine and estuarine sites: evidence for incomplete recovery of turgor. Rowan R Diversity and ecology of zooxanthellae on coral reefs. Tethya seychellensis produces filamentous extensions which it uses to move across the sea bottom. Most sponges are able to vary the rate at which they pump water through their bodies in response to environmental factors. Synchronized spawning behavior in sponges can be a sight to behold. Lunar cycles trigger mass spawning of some species of sponges and many other invertebrates on certain days of the year.

When triggered, most individuals of a given species begin to spawn at the same time over a large geographic area. Sponges releasing sperm appear to smoke while those releasing eggs become sheathed in layers of opaque mucus. While the majority of sponges will probably not harm humans if handled, there are a number of species which are definitely irritating to human skin.

The irritation is the result of chemicals, spicules or both, and individual susceptibility varies greatly. Sponges of the genus Tedania have the well earned common name of fire sponges. In many sponges sharp, spiny spicules easily penetrate skin and cause severe pain, irritation and swelling. We have tried to indicate in the photo notes a few species which we know to be particularly irritating, but this list is far from complete.

There are many sponges among those illustrated which will prove to be irritating, so caution is important. In general, it is simply best to leave sponges alone. No sponges are known to be used as food for humans. Under no circumstances should humans ever attempt to eat sponges. The only instance of ingesting a sponge we are aware of was nearly fatal! Humans aside, sponges are unpalatable to most other marine organisms. However, many nudibranchs, some fishes angelfishes , and some turtles seem to relish various sponge species; proof of the axiom that nearly everything in nature has some kind of predator.

The sponge in the picture can exhibit several different growth forms, even within the same habitat.

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Three growth forms are visible in the photograph; erect columns, encrusting and small fans. This is one of the reasons many sponges are so diffcult to identify in the field. Another reason to avoid contact with sponges is that most are fragile and can be easily damaged or dislodged. Large sponges, which may be a hundred years old or more, still have a delicate outer surface.

Abrasion of the outer surface can lead to opportunistic infections of the tissue and eventual death. The fibrous skeletons of species of Spongia and Hippospongia have been used by humans since antiquity for their water absorbing capacity. Synthetic sponges are unable to match the characteristics of natural bath sponges, and these sponges are still in high demand. Bath sponges, of which there are a number of species in our region, lack hard spicules.

The best bath The sponge in the picture above is one of many sponges that has sponges have a skeleton of very dense networks of other organisms growing on it. There are two other sponges, a resilient fibers.


  1. Corals and Coral Reefs | Smithsonian Ocean.
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Identified as Plakinalopha, this sponge may actually belong to another family, the lithistid sponges. We have kept the old name for convenience until further studies have been completed. This species is kown from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia on reefs from about 30 to 90 feet depth. This sponge forms the basis of a tiny biological community we call turf balls even though there isnt really any turf involved.

The sponge surface is so heavily covered by algae, hydroids, ascidians and other organisms that the sponge itself is no longer visible. These microcommunities are about the size of a tennis ball.

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The sponge occurs as clumps attached to moderately deep vertical walls of reefs. Species of this sponge are known as chicken liver sponges because of their fleshy texture. These sponges are soft and lack the large spicules typical of other spicule containing sponges. This is another chicken liver sponge. It is typical of the group in that the internal color is virtually identical to the external color.

This chicken liver sponge is common on inshore reefs throughout Micronesia.

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It often occurs as groups of numerous individual sponges scattered over a small area, rather than as single large individual. This species is an ear sponge, a stony flattened sponge which grows in the dark recesses of reef caves. There are a number of poorly-known species in this genus.

Their color comes largely from symbiotic organisms, not the sponge itself.

Pale sponges are usually found in the darker areas of the caves. At one time these ear sponges would have been considered members of the stony sponges, the lithistids, but recent work has shown the ear sponges, as broadly considered, to be more correctly separated among other demosponge groups. These types of sponges, often called golf ball sponges, are at first sight so improbable that it is hard to believe they are living animals.

Internal color does not generally vary within a species, this one is shocking pink inside. Water is taken in through bright, circular, sieve-like depressions porocalices and exits through the large oscules on the top of the sponge. Sediment is trapped between long spicules which protrude from the sponge surface. Internally the sponge is a mass of radiating spicules and fibers, something it shares in common with some other spherical sponges, including the genera Partetilla and Craniella. This golf ball sponge is always dull yellow internally.

It usually grows in caves and beneath ledges on reef areas, but this photograph was taken in a marine lake in Palau. Many organisms, which usually occur somewhat deeper on the reef, are found in some of these shallow lakes. The sponge gained its somewhat whimsical specific name when the author of the original description, Prof. Max de Laubenfels, felt this pseudo-magical incantation was an appropriate name because of the bizarre appearance of this sponge.

What Are Coral Reefs? | Live Science

This sponge is found beneath overhangs. This species of Paratetilla seems superficially similar to Craniella abracadabra above, but differs in the structure of the spicules which make up the skeleton. Both sponges have radial skeletal morphology. The sponge is growing on a coral of the genus Porites.

This is another ball-like sponge.