Sponges: A Museum Victoria Field Guide

Sponges: A Museum Victoria Field Guide

Julian Finn, Lisa Goudie, Mark Norman

Language: English

Pages: 326

ISBN: 2:00306125

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


We might think of sponges as bathroom objects but the real living animals are far more interesting. They come in all shapes and sizes, occur in all oceans of the world, and have amazing lives. Sponges have lived in our oceans for 600 million years. Ancient forms even built reefs bigger than the Great Barrier Reef. Today, sponges help clean our oceans, are experts are chemical warfare and can rebuild themselves after being torn apart. Some even live for 2000 years. There is still much to learn about the diversity and biology of sponges in southern Australian waters, with many species still waiting for formal scientific description. This guide introduces naturalists, beachcombers, divers and others to sponge species commonly encountered in southern Australia.

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Family Spirastrellidae Spirastrellids are primarily encrusting sponges, capable of excavating limestone. They possess a layer of large spiraster microscleres in the cortex. The species shown here appears to be closely associated with an encrusting octocoral, giving it a two-tone appearance. Spirastrella sp. LG1, with encrusting octocoral, Whaleback Reef, Point Hicks. Mark Norman 40 114 Family Suberitidae 115 Suberitid sponges are characterised by their lack of a differentiated cortex, and

the asterose microscleres. Sponges in the genus Tethya often exhibit budding propagules, a form of asexual reproduction whereby the parent sponge produces a stalk of spicules at its surface, terminating in a bud that detaches and floats away to become a separate individual, (see image of Tethya sp. LG3). Tethya sp. LG1 with close-up, right, Portsea Pier, Port Phillip Bay. 122 Mark Norman 44 123 Tethya sp. LG2 showing pedicels, Mornington Pier, Port Phillip Bay. 124 Mark Norman Tethya sp.

LG3 showing budding propagules, Pillar Point, Wilsons Promontory. Julian Finn 45 125 SPONGES 126 Chondrosia sp. LG1. Mark Norman 46 127 Order Chondrosida 128 Family Chondrillidae Sponges in this order all belong to the single family Chondrillidae and may be encrusting to massive in growth form. They are widely distributed and tend to be found in shallow water, often in caves or beneath rocks. They have a smooth appearance and a rubbery texture due to their densely collagenous matrix.

skeleton. They may be thickly encrusting over the substrate (as seen here) or, as in the other subgenera, massive or arborescent in form. Clathria (Thalysias) Promontory. sp. LG4, Julian Finn 52 139 Pillar Point, Wilsons Genus Echinochalina 140 Sponges in this genus display all growth forms including encrusting, branching, massive, and even honeycombed. Two types of megascleres are found in these sponges; one in the outer ectosome region, being the same as those found coring the

live at all depths of the ocean from intertidal habitats to depths of up to seven kilometres. Sponges are found from the warm waters of the tropics, where they are important reef-building organisms, to the cold oceans at the poles where glass sponges are a dominant component of the benthic (bottom-dwelling) fauna. Choanocyte cells produce the current flow through sponges. SEM showing sponge choanocytes. © CC BY-SA Mark Dayel 2011 2 23 24 A deep-sea stony sponge from eastern Australia (left)

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