[Coral-List] Sponges on Caribbean reefs

Pawlik, Joseph pawlikj at uncw.edu
Thu Feb 8 09:33:58 EST 2018

Greetings, Colleagues,

We're pleased to direct your attention to some recent publications that highlight the vibrant research that's going on in sponge ecology, particularly related to coral reef ecosystems. The first of these is a review that updates the lively back-and-forth regarding top-down and bottom-up effects on sponge community structure on Caribbean reefs. The review brings together citations old and new, including a discussion of the likely top-down effect of ~11 million hawksbill turtles on Caribbean reefs of a few centuries ago!

Pawlik, J.R., Loh, T.-L., McMurray S.E. 2018. A review of bottom-up vs. top-down control of sponges on Caribbean fore-reefs: What's old, what's new, and future directions. PeerJ  6:e4343  https://peerj.com/articles/4343/

Some of the concepts in the PeerJ paper were reported in a recent post on the National Geographic website:

We have also tested the sponge-loop hypothesis for 9 species of emergent Caribbean sponges, and have confirmed the importance of DOC in sponge nutrition, but could find no evidence for detritus production in the loop as it was originally proposed - instead we suggest that emergent sponges "close the loop" with growth, rather than detritus production. This paper was chosen as a MEPS Feature Article:

McMurray, S.E., Stubler, A.D., Erwin, P.M., Finelli, C.M., Pawlik, J.R.  2018.  A test of the sponge-loop hypothesis for emergent Caribbean reef sponges. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 588:1-14    doi: 10.3354/meps12466

Finally, here is a recently published chapter that reviews the ecological function of sponges relative to nutrient cycling at a time of rapid anthropogenic change:

de Goeij, J.M., Lesser, M.P., Pawlik, J.R. 2017. Nutrient fluxes and ecological functions of coral reef sponges in a changing ocean. Chapter 8 in Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Sponges, pp. 373-410, Carballo, J.L., Bell, J.J.(eds.) Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-59008-0_8



Joseph R. Pawlik
Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology
Dept. of Biology and Marine Biology
UNCW Center for Marine Science
5600 Marvin K Moss Lane
Wilmington, NC  28409
Office:(910)962-2377; Cell:(910)232-3579
Website: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/index.html
PDFs: http://people.uncw.edu/pawlikj/pubs2.html
Video Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/skndiver011

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