Exploitation of micro refuges and epibiosis: Survival strategies of a calcareous sponge

Bárbara Ribeiro, André Padua, Paulo Cesar Paiva, Márcio Reis Custódio, Michelle Klautau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Sponges interact in various ways with a wide variety of organisms in benthic communities and ecological interactions may influence the distribution, abundance and diversity of these organisms in different sites. Although several studies have already been developed for Demospongiae, knowledge of ecological interactions in the class Calcarea is lacking. Some calcareous sponges are considered weak competitors for space and to have developed strategies to survive in highly dynamic environments, such as exploitation of micro refuges and epibiosis. We aimed to investigate the influence of intra- and interspecific interactions in the abundance, growth and lifespan of the calcareous sponge Clathrina aurea in south-eastern Brazil. Two peaks of abundance and area coverage were observed during the studied year, probably associated with reproductive effort. We found no evidence of intra- or interspecific competition between the sponge and the benthic community. Clathrina aurea was found using parts of other organisms as substrate (epibiosis), such as algae, demosponges and corals. It was seen that the interaction of the sponge with coral polyps positively affects the lifespan of sponge individuals and the interstices of corals probably promote a micro refuge for C. aurea against competitors for space and predators.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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