Redwood of the reef: growth and age of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys

@article{McMurray2008RedwoodOT,
  title={Redwood of the reef: growth and age of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys},
  author={Steven E. McMurray and James E. Blum and Joseph R. Pawlik},
  journal={Marine Biology},
  year={2008},
  volume={155},
  pages={159-171}
}
The growth of animals in most taxa has long been well described, but the phylum Porifera has remained a notable exception. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta dominates Caribbean coral reef communities, where it is an important spatial competitor, increases habitat complexity, and filters seawater. It has been called the ‘redwood of the reef’ because of its size (often >1 m height and diameter) and presumed long life, but very little is known about its demography. Since 1997, we have… 
Growth and longevity in giant barrel sponges: Redwoods of the reef or Pines in the Indo-Pacific?
TLDR
Indo-Pacific sponges were over twice as old as published estimates of comparably sized X. muta (53–55 as compared to 23 years of age, respectively), although extrapolation errors are likely to increase with sponge size, suggesting that barrel sponge growth rates in the Indo-Pacific might be more comparable to Pines rather than Redwoods.
Demographics of increasing populations of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys.
TLDR
Monitoring permanent plots on reefs off Key Largo, Florida, USA, to study the demography of a particularly important species, the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, revealed that survival of individuals in the largest size class has the greatest effect on population growth.
Demography and impacts of habitat degradation on the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia spp. in the Indo-Pacific
TLDR
The results of this thesis highlight the accelerated growth of these massive sponges compared to estimates from the Caribbean; these differences have important implications for how these ecologically important species should be managed.
Population dynamics of giant barrel sponges on Florida coral reefs
Diseases on the reef : presence , persistence and responses
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TLDR
This study examined the growth of the elephant ear sponge Ianthella basta, the largest and in some areas one of the dominating sponge species on Guam and other pacific reefs and demonstrated high growth rates, which has notable implications for environmental assessments, management and potential biomedical applications.
Bleaching of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys
TLDR
Bleaching of X. muta did not result in sponge mortality, corroborating the conclusion that cyanobacterial symbionts of the sponge provide little or no benefit to the host, and additional work would be required to conclusively determine whether a causal relationship between bleaching and temperature exists.
Demographics of the Caribbean brown tube sponge Agelas tubulata on Conch Reef, Florida Keys, and a description of Agelas Wasting Syndrome (AWS)
The brown tube sponge, Agelas tubulata (cf. conifera) is an abundant and long-lived sponge on Caribbean reefs. Populations of A. tubulata were monitored inside 8 circular plots (16 m diameter) on
Perilous proximity: Does the Janzen–Connell hypothesis explain the distribution of giant barrel sponges on a Florida coral reef?
TLDR
The Janzen–Connell hypothesis on barrel sponges on Conch Reef, Florida, is tested by examining their distribution as a function of size using spatial point pattern analyses, which revealed no consistent distribution pattern, with most analyses resulting in a random pattern of sponge distribution.
Evidence for shifting genetic structure among Caribbean giant barrel sponges in the Florida Keys
TLDR
Comparisons of the microsatellite data with mortality and recruitment data obtained from the plots revealed that the shifting genetic structure is due to disproportionate reproduction or recruitment of Cluster 2 sponges, further evidence of the dramatic changes occurring on coral reefs in the Anthropocene.
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