Distribution of sponges on the Mauritanian continental shelf

  • R. W. M. van Soest
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology 86 book series (DIHY, volume 86)


Transect sampling on the continental shelf off the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, revealed a patchy distribution of sponge species and populations. Major sponge habitats are inshore coastal sandstone flats harbouring a diverse infaunal sponge fauna, and the moving substrate of shells of live gastropods or empty shells occupied by hermit crabs which harbour a numerically important but species-poor incrusting sponge fauna. The latter forms occur over most of the depth profile. Horizontal distribution of the sponges shows a distinct gap in species and numbers associated with a muddy bottom area where the sediment-rich Banc d’Arguin run-off is found. North and south of this gap the specific composition of the infaunal sponges is considerably different and this is explained as evidence for limitation of range extensions, notably of the southern sponge fauna, by the muddy area.

Key words

Biogeography faunal barrier Porifera 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. M. van Soest
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Taxonomic ZoologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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