Endofauna differences between two temperate marine sponges (Demospongiae; Haplosclerida; Chalinidae) from southwest Australia
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The endofaunal assemblages associated with two species of sponge from the family Chalinidae (Haliclona sp. 1 and Haliclona sp. 2) were studied at four locations along the south west coast of Australia. The species have distinct morphologies and inhabit similar microhabitats; there is also considerable scientific interest in Haliclona sp. 1 (green Haliclona) due to the unique bioactive compound it produces. A total of 948 and 287 endofaunal individuals were found associated with 16 specimens of both the green Haliclona and Haliclona sp. 2 (brown Haliclona), respectively. Twenty-four endofaunal taxa were found (from mysid shrimps to teleost fish), with the brown Haliclona having a greater density of endofaunal species and individuals than the green Haliclona. The endofaunal assemblages of both species of sponge were significantly different, but only the endofaunal assemblage within the green Haliclona differed significantly among locations. Differences in the abundance and biomass of associated endofauna of each species of sponge can be related to differences in their morphologies, size and internal structure. In the green Haliclona, differences in endofaunal assemblages among locations are unlikely to be due to environmental influences as taxa discriminating each locations assemblage were common to both species of sponge. Numerous endofaunal individuals were found to be reproductively active, and it is clear that the species of sponge provide important habitats for their associated endofauna. This provision of habitat needs to be taken into account when harvesting green Haliclona biomass for supply of its target bioactive compound for further pharmaceutical development.
KeywordsSponge Polychaete Internal Space Sponge Species Brittle Star
The editorial assistance of Dr Jane Fromont, Dr Gary Kendrick, Dr Justin McDonald and Stephen Whalan is greatly appreciated, as are the comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviewers. This research was supported by a University of Western Australia Postgraduate Award and complied with all current laws of Australia. Special thanks are given to Linda Heap, Caine Delacy, Diego Kendrick, David Gull and Craig Lebens (and Lebens Diving Services) for their help in the field.
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