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Metabolic responses of a phototrophic sponge to sedimentation supports transitions to sponge-dominated reefs

Biggerstaff, A and Smith, DJ and Jompa, J and Bell, JJ (2017) 'Metabolic responses of a phototrophic sponge to sedimentation supports transitions to sponge-dominated reefs.' Scientific Reports, 7 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Declines in coral abundance have been linked to increased sedimentation at many locations across the world and at some of these locations there have been subsequent increases in sponge abundance. These shifts appear counterintuitive as sponges are suspension feeders and many rely on photosymbionts for carbon. At a sedimented reef in Indonesia (Wakatobi) corals have declined and the photoautotrophic sponge Lamellodysidea herbacea is now abundant. We hypothesise that this is partly due to L. herbacea's ability to clear its tissues of high levels of settled-sediment and compensate for associated metabolic demands by altering its respiration rate. Negligible detrimental effects to sponge tissue were observed after treatments up to five times the sedimentation rate of the highly sedimented reef. Rapid sediment clearance occurred that was potentially aided by mucus production. Finally, high sediment exposure caused an immediate reduction in respiration rate, likely due to reduced pumping to prevent clogging, whereas sustained high sedimentation caused an increase in respiration rate, potentially due to the energetic cost of mucus production. Our study provides evidence that some sponges can tolerate environments that appear unsuitable to many corals and with increased sedimentation this acclimation may support further transitions to sponge dominated reefs in the future.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 11:03
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 13:19
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20303

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