Meeting Abstract

P3.30  Friday, Jan. 6  Distribution of three sponges in a Florida seagrass bed. LANDAU, MATTHEW P.*; CURTIS, MICHELLE D.; REILEY, SUSANNA J.; Richard Stockton College; Richard Stockton College; Richard Stockton College landaum@stockton.edu

While the ecology of sponges on mangrove roots and in coral reefs has received recent attention, sponges in other tropical environments are less well studied. We looked at the distribution of three sponges (Tedania ignis, Chondrilla nucula, and Chalinula sp.) in a seagrass bed adjacent to Long Key, Florida. Sampling was done using random quadrats (3mx3m) as well as 6mx3m quadrats in a 150m continuous grid. Densities varied from 0.04 to 0.19 individuals/m2. There were no significant correlations between seagrass densities and the number of sponges/quadrat. All three species had aggregated spatial patterns (p=0.003, p=0.015, p<0.001, respectively, when compared to a random Poisson distribution); calculating Green’s Index of Dispersion, Chalinula’s rate of clumping (0.131) was much greater than either Tedania’s (0.037) or Chondrilla’s (0.032). In contrast, using Hill’s TTLQV method for analysis of continuous grid data, Tedania aggregates look less distinct and broader than those of either Chondrilla or Chalinula, which appear somewhat similar.