Submission Title

Potential Niche Partitioning among Sponge Species in the Lower Florida Keys

Location

Vivian A. Bull Music Center: Delkin Recital Hall

Subject Area

Biology

Description

The shallow tidal flats off the islands of the lower Florida Keys represent a harsh environment for sessile marine invertebrates, with high light intensities and high food variability. This habitat is home to three taxonomically distinct sponge species that share similar rope morphologies: Cliona varians forma varians, Ircinia cf.variabilis, and Neopetrosia subtriangularis. Despite sharing a habitat, these three species differ in their symbiont regime, with C. varians hosting dinoflagellate photosymbionts and both I. variabilis and N. subtriangularis hosting cyanobacterial photosymbionts. To test hypotheses of niche partitioning among these species, we conducted experiments to measure several aspects of their niches. The sponges were all assayed for pumping rates using dye-video analysis, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content, microbiome composition, and stable carbon isotope ratios. The results indicated that N. subtriangularis had a significantly higher pumping rate than the other species. The TOC of N. subtriangularis differed significantly between ambient seawater and exhalent seawater, and the microbiomes and carbon stable isotope ratios of the species varied significantly. More work is currently underway to examine the metabolism of these sponges, giving us insight into the unique ecology of this habitat.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

Import Event to Google Calendar

COinS
 
May 18th, 11:00 AM May 18th, 11:15 AM

Potential Niche Partitioning among Sponge Species in the Lower Florida Keys

Vivian A. Bull Music Center: Delkin Recital Hall

The shallow tidal flats off the islands of the lower Florida Keys represent a harsh environment for sessile marine invertebrates, with high light intensities and high food variability. This habitat is home to three taxonomically distinct sponge species that share similar rope morphologies: Cliona varians forma varians, Ircinia cf.variabilis, and Neopetrosia subtriangularis. Despite sharing a habitat, these three species differ in their symbiont regime, with C. varians hosting dinoflagellate photosymbionts and both I. variabilis and N. subtriangularis hosting cyanobacterial photosymbionts. To test hypotheses of niche partitioning among these species, we conducted experiments to measure several aspects of their niches. The sponges were all assayed for pumping rates using dye-video analysis, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content, microbiome composition, and stable carbon isotope ratios. The results indicated that N. subtriangularis had a significantly higher pumping rate than the other species. The TOC of N. subtriangularis differed significantly between ambient seawater and exhalent seawater, and the microbiomes and carbon stable isotope ratios of the species varied significantly. More work is currently underway to examine the metabolism of these sponges, giving us insight into the unique ecology of this habitat.