Life cycle of Spongilla lacustris (Porifera, Spongillidae): a cue for environment-dependent phenotype
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We studied the life cycle and growth of Spongilla lacustris in a stream with three distinct habitats. Sponge populations in the habitats exhibited different adaptive strategies. Growth forms of S. lacustris ranged from encrusting to digitate and branched. Environmental factors controlled the appearance of each growth form. In the most hospitable habitat, a variety of colonization strategies and different growth forms were present. In the less hospitable habitat growth was restricted to small and encrusting specimens. In the optimal habitat, the largest and most luxuriant specimens developed. Gemmulation and hatching were dephased among specimens in the three habitats; hence gemmules were present for long periods of time. S. lacustris was found capable of displaying two life strategies: r in the short run, K in the long run.
Key wordsfresh-water sponges adaptive strategy habitat hospitability
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