Larval bloom of the oviparous sponge Cliona viridis: coupling of larval abundance and adult distribution
- 208 Downloads
We performed an intensive year-round sampling with the aim of studying the abundance of sponge larvae in four Mediterranean benthic communities: photophilic algae, sciaphilous algae, semi-obscure (i.e. low light-intensity) caves and sandy bottoms. We record here for the first time, a larval bloom of Cliona viridis (Schmidt 1862), the most common excavating sponge in the Mediterranean, which took place simultaneously in several rocky communities of the Blanes sub-littoral (NE Spain), and discuss the role of restricted larval dispersal in the distribution of adult sponges. In the communities studied, C. viridis larvae bloomed synchronously once, in June. Spawning and consequent embryo development presumably occurred in May, when water temperature was 16 °C. The free larva is a small, evenly ciliated, weakly swimming parenchymella with low dispersal capabilities. The number of larvae m−3 and sponge abundance (as percent cover and biomass) were significantly higher in the community of sciaphilous algae than in the other communities studied. Because of limited larval dispersal, larval and adult abundance in the communities were positively correlated. Larvae developed into juvenile sponges 10 to 15 d after settlement. Settlers displayed distinctive features: a peripheral cuticle, vacuolar etching-like cells at the sponge base, absence of oscular chimneys, and the presence of zooxanthellae, which were presumably transmitted during oocyte maturation.
KeywordsSponge Oocyte Maturation Larval Dispersal Larval Abundance Sandy Bottom
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.