February 2011

Giant barrel sponge and orange elephant ear sponge - Long Island, The Bahamas

Large Sponges can be reattached to Coral Reefs

Sponges are dominant components of coral reef ecosystems, often exceeding reef-building corals in abundance. Large sponges, often more than 1 m in diameter, may be hundreds to thousands of years old. When damaged or dislodged, large sponges usually die because they are unable to reattach to the reef substratum.

20 specimens of the Caribbean giant barrel sponge were removed and reattached at Conch Reef off of Key Largo, Florida in 2004 and 2005 at depths of 15m and 30m.