Latitudinal variation in spongivorous fishes and the effectiveness of sponge chemical defenses

  title={Latitudinal variation in spongivorous fishes and the effectiveness of sponge chemical defenses},
  author={Rob R. Ruzicka and Daniel F. Gleason},
It has been proposed that predation pressure declines with increasing latitude and a positive correlation exists between predation intensity and the investment into chemical defenses. However, little direct evidence supports the idea that tropical species are better defended chemically than their temperate counterparts. Temperate reefs of the South Atlantic Bight (SAB) off Georgia, USA, provide a unique opportunity to study tropical sponges in a temperate environment. We documented sponge… 

Global patterns in the effects of predator declines on sea urchins

A meta-analysis tests the prediction that predation pressure on sea urchins, a group of consumers with a particularly strong influence on community structure in the world's oceans, is strongest in the tropics and suggests an important role of prey identity rather than large scale abiotic factors in determining variation in interaction strengths.

The Impacts of Predation and Habitat Degradation on Coral Reef Sponge Assemblages in SE Sulawesi, Indonesia

Coral reefs across the globe are in decline due to multiple threats including overexploitation, pollution, coastal development, climate change and ocean acidification. Much research has focused on

High intraspecific variation in the diet of the french angelfish Pomacanthus paru in the south-western Atlantic

Underwater observations and palatability, caging and transplantation experiments indicate that grazing by reef fish also has strong influence on the abundance, distribution and shape of sponges, which helps to better understand the latitudinal variation of predation and herbivory intensity on Western Atlantic coral reefs.

Stronger predation in the tropics shapes species richness patterns in marine communities.

The first experimental field test thatpredation is both stronger and has a disproportionate effect on species richness in the tropics relative to the temperate zone is reported, offering empirical support for the long-held prediction that predation pressure is stronger at lower latitudes.

Does concentrating chemical defenses within specific regions of marine sponges result in enhanced protection from predators?

Chemical defenses are an effective mode of predator deterrence across benthic marine organisms, but their production may come with associated costs to the organism as limited resources are diverted

Variability in chemical defense across a shallow to mesophotic depth gradient in the Caribbean sponge Plakortis angulospiculatus

A survey of bioactive extracts indicated that a specific defensive metabolite, plakortide F, varied in concentration with depth, producing altered deterrence between shallow and mesophotic reef P. angulospiculatus.

Latitudinal variation in the microbiome of the sponge Ircinia campana correlates with host haplotype but not anti-predatory chemical defense

These findings indicate that Ircinia campana is chemically defended from fish predators across the range of the species and that latitudinal variation occurs in the microbiome of I. campana, driven by a combination of host-specific factors and region-specific environmental filtering of symbiont communities.

Chemical defenses, nutritional quality, and structural components in three sponge species: Ircinia felix, I. campana, and Aplysina fulva

Overall, these results do not support the prediction that predation pressure by fish and large mobile invertebrates significantly impacts chemical defense allocation in these sponges.

Assessment of rock pool fish assemblages along a latitudinal gradient

Increased understanding of latitudinal gradients and patterns of biodiversity at a regional scale is important for many reasons (e.g. biodiversity conservation, species management, climate change).



Biogeography of sponge chemical ecology: comparisons of tropical and temperate defenses

This study provides the first experimental test of latitudinal differences in the effectiveness of sponge chemical defenses and suggests a recurrent selection for chemical defenses in sponges as a general life-history strategy.

Spongivory on Caribbean reefs releases corals from competition with sponges

  • M. Hill
  • Environmental Science
  • 1998
Exclusion of sponge predators resulted in increased sponge overgrowth, with a subsequent greater loss of coral cover, compared to uncaged pairwise interactions, and it is proposed that indirect effects arising from spongivory may have large community consequences.

Coral reef sponges: Do predatory fishes affect their distribution?

Data on the chemical defenses of Caribbean reef sponges against generalist predatory fishes suggest that predation plays an important role in structuring the reef sponge community and thatpredation limits the distribution of some Caribbean sponge species.

Latitudinal variation in abundance of herbivorous fishes: a comparison of temperate and tropical reefs

The differences in abundance found by the study between temperate and tropical regions are not restricted to herbivorous fishes, but are representative of general latitudinal trends in reef fish faunas.

Variability in the chemical defense of the sponge Chondrilla nucula against predatory reef fishes

Both laboratory and field feeding-assays of crude extracts confirmed that C. nucula possesses a chemical defense with high intercolony variability, but there was no significant variation in feeding deterrency between reef and mangrove habitats at either geographic location (Bahamas and Florida).

Comparison of anti-predatory defenses of Red Sea and Caribbean sponges. II. Physical defense

In addition to the commonly used chemical defense mechanism against predation, ses- sile organisms such as terrestrial plants, soft corals and seaweeds are known to have a physical defense mechanism

Community Organization in Temperate and Tropical Rocky Intertidal Habitats: Prey Refuges in Relation to Consumer Pressure Gradients

In the Panama system, three—dimensional space (holes and crevices) appears to be particularly important as a refuge from consumers, while escapes from consumers in body size, time, or two-dimensional space assume secondary importance for many prey.


This work directly compared the palatability of 10 salt marsh plants from seven northern and eight southern coastal salt marshes by flying fresh plant material back and forth and allowing 13 species of herbivores direct choices between northern and southern nonspecific plants in laboratory assays, providing the most comprehensive evidence to date for a latitudinal gradient in plant palatable in any community.

Defenses of Caribbean sponges against predatory reef fish. I. Chemical deterrency

There was no relationship between sponge color and deterrency, suggesting that sponges are not aposematic and that color variation is the result of other factors, and the invalidity of previous assessments of chemical defense based on toxicity was confirmed.