Marine Biology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 147–159 | Cite as

Siliceous sponge spicules in coral reef sediments

  • K. Rützler
  • I. G. Macintyre
Article

Abstract

Experimental etching with hydrofluoric acid indicated that silica deposition occurs in a recognizable pattern in common sponge microscleres. The postdepositional alteration of these spicules has previously been generally unrecognized or misinterpreted in the literature. Early stages of postdepositional etching of sponge spicules were observed in the acid insoluble fraction of sediments from the West Atlantic barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. Preliminary data on silica distribution in the Belize barrier reef show that concentrations in fine sediment (<0.25 mm) increase landward of the main reef tract. Sponge spicules are the main component of particulate silica in sediments of the reef and fore-reef where sponge populations abound, whereas grains prevail in the back-reef lagoon deposits. Recycling of locally dissolved silica appears to be important for the growth of many off-shore reef sponges.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Rützler
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. G. Macintyre
    • 1
  1. 1.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.USA
  2. 2.Department of Invertebrate Zoology, NHB 163Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.USA

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