Coral Reefs

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 199–202

Response of sponges with autotrophic endosymbionts during the coral-bleaching episode in Puerto Rico

  • V. P. Vicente

DOI: 10.1007/BF00265011

Cite this article as:
Vicente, V.P. Coral Reefs (1990) 8: 199. doi:10.1007/BF00265011


An updated list of sponges with algal endosymbionts including new records for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, indicates that thirty-five species of common Caribbean sponges possess photosynthetic endosymbionts. Of these, 23 (67.6%) species in seven orders, were found with unicellular chroococcoid cyanobacteria (Aphanocapsa-like) and 5 (14.7%) hadromerid species were found with zooxanthellae. Sponges with other algae as symbionts occur less frequently (≦6%). Thirty-one common sponge species were inspected for bleaching during coral-bleaching months (July-September 1987; January 1988) in Puerto Rico. Anthosigmella varians, Xestospongia muta and Petrosia pellasarca bleached partially, but only few individuals within any given population became bleached and the bleaching of sponges was very localized. Adaptations between cyanobacterial symbionts and sponges, acquired during the long evolutionary history of these two taxa may explain the paucity of bleached sponges when compared to the high incidence of bleached corals reported.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. P. Vicente
    • 1
  1. 1.Caribbean Field OfficeU. S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceBoquerón

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