Small scale variation in Dictyocerid sponges in central Torres Strait, Australia (MTSRF Project 1.3.2)

Surveys for Coscinoderma sp. were done at 5 island-groups: Ugar (Stephen Island) and Erub (Darnley Island) in eastern Torres Strait; and Masig (Yorke Island), Poruma (Coconut Island) and Warraber (Sue Island) in central Torres Strait. Sponge surveys were done at 7 or 8 randomly selected locations in each island group with each location at least 2 km apart, averaging 8 km. Each location was divided into 2 sites, approximately 200 m apart. At each site, three 30 x 1 m strip transects were quantitatively surveyed for the bath sponge, Coscinoderma sp. Transects were separated by at least 20 m and all were done between 7-11 m. Sponges were grouped into 2 or 5 cm size classes. For any diseased sponge, the percent of infected or necrotic pinacoderm was noted. Four environmental factors (slope, %rock, %rubble and %sand) were recorded. Tissue samples from 10 individuals of Coscinoderma sp. were collected from each island-group. In addition, 10 sponges were collected from each of two sites, Keats and Kodall islands, off Masig. Approximately 2 g of tissue from each sample was taken for DNA extraction, amplification and sequencing. For microbial analysis, a DNA fingerprinting technique (denaturing gradient gel electropohoresis) was used to determine the stability of bacterial associations within Coscinoderma sp. across wide spatial scales.

To assess the distribution and abundance of a wild commercial bath sponge species, Coscinoderma sp., in Torres Strait. To identify elements of environmental risk (evidence of disease, sedimentation, invasives). To understand the dynamics and structure of bath sponge population(s) and explore the risks and threats to these populations prior to considerations of commercial development.

Related AIMS Publications Duckworth AR, Wolff CWW, Cobb RE and Webster NS (2007) Ecological role and potential value of sponges to Torres Strait. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility. 59 p. Duckworth AR and Wolff CWW (2007) Patterns of abundance and size of Dictyoceratid sponges among neighbouring islands in central Torres Strait, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 58: 204-212. Duckworth AR, Wolff CWW, Evans-Illidge EA, Whalan S and Lui S (2008) Spatial variability in community structure of Dictyoceratida sponges across Torres Strait, Australia. Continental Shelf Research 28: 2168-2173. Jones A, Barnett B, Williams AJ, Grayson J, Busilacchi S, Duckworth AR, Evans-Illidge EA, Begg GA and Murchie CD (2008) Effective communication tools to engage Torres Strait Islanders in scientific research. Continental Shelf Research 28: 2350-2356. Duckworth AR, Wolff CWW and Luter H (2009) Patterns of abundance and size across varying spatial scales for the coral reef sponge Coscinoderma matthewsi. Marine Ecology Progress Series 396: 27-33.

Principal Investigator
Duckworth, Alan R, Dr
Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth A (Libby), Ms Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Point Of Contact
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

Data collected from 01 Nov 2006

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Tags: Biological Classification - Animals/Invertebrates - Sponges | Agriculture - Agricultural Aquatic Sciences - Aquaculture | Biosphere - Ecological Dynamics - Community Dynamics , Community Structure | Biosphere - Ecological Dynamics - Community Dynamics , Biodiversity Functions | Biosphere - Ecological Dynamics - Community Dynamics , Species Recruitment | Biosphere - Aquatic Ecosystems - Benthic Habitat | Connectivity | Population structure | Ecology | Coscinoderma mathewsi | Surveys