Ecology 91 , 560 – 570 ( 2010 ). I saw them on my first SCUBA dive off Grand Bahama Island in 1978: large, partially hollow cylinders on the slope of the coral reef; brown barrels, some as large as oil drums. A modest-sized giant barrel sponge can pump 15,000 litres per hour, giving a weekly volume roughly equal to that of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Limnology and Oceanography 61 (4): 1271-1286. Xestospongia muta increases habitat complexity and stability, and filters large volumes of water, enhancing water quality and facilitating nutrient cycling. The giant barrel sponge, though living as a solitary sponge as seen in Fig. Lettuce corals (Scleractinia; Agariciidae) Bicolor damselfish. From 2000-2012, the density of the giant barrel sponge population increased by 44% on Pickles Reef, while on Conch Reef it more than doubled (fig 2)! Like reef-building corals, some sponges have been reported to bleach and die. populations of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta Cara L. Fiore, Jessica K. Jarett & Michael P. Lesser Department of Molecular Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 Keywords Bacteria, sponge, symbiosis. Description. , Demographics of increasing populations of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys. Seawater samples were collected from the incurrent and excurrent flow of 35 sponges. The giant barrel sponge is considered to be on the second trophic level, meaning that it is a primary consumer since it consumes photosynthetic cyanobacteria, which are primary producers (McMurray et al., 2008). Correspondence Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta a particularly important species; populations constitute a significant amount Lionfish. Populations of the giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta), a common Caribbean species that can live for centuries (McMurray et al. Diver collected cores of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, for a population genetic analysis. Xestospongia muta. Giant Barrel Sponges filter a tremendous amount of water throughout their lifespan (some living up to 2000 years) which increases water clarity, controls algae, and affects coral populations. Search for more papers by this author. Symbiotic prokaryotic communities from different populations of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta. Jessica K. Jarett. Stegastes partitus. POPULATION ECOLOGY. 2008) and grow to more than a meter in height and diameter (figure 1), have increased by 122% over the period 2000–2012 on Conch Reef in … Epinephelus morio. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta is a dominant reef constituent in the Caribbean. Giant barrel sponge. Although (1816) separated the sponges in a group Spongiaria allied to Protozoa. Department of Molecular Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, 03824 . Giant barrel sponges, Xestospongia muta, are known as the “redwoods of the reef” as they are large (can be up to ~6 feet in height and ~3 feet across), long-lived (> 2,000 years old), and provide habitat for many reef species. Redwoods of the reef: new insights on the giant barrel sponge of the Caribbean By Joseph R. Pawlik, Ph.D., Professor . From 2000 to 2006, population densities of X. muta significantly increased at sites on Conch Reef by a mean of 46% (range = 16-108%) and on Pickles Reef by a mean of 33%. Pterois volitans. Tissues of X. muta contain cyanobacterial symbionts of the Synechococcus group. Xestospongia muta, the giant barrel sponge, is a key component of coral reef benthic communities in Southeast Florida and the Caribbean. Sponges take in water from the outside, which is funneled through small channels by rotating cilia.This is how they get their food. doi: 10.1890/08-2060.1 pmid: … Giant barrel sponges, such as Xestospongia muta, are referred to by some as "Redwoods of the Reef." Ecological Archives E091-040-A1 Steven E. McMurray, Timothy P. Henkel, and Joseph R. Pawlik. Porites astreoides. The giant barrel sponges Xestospongia muta and Xestospongia testudinaria are ubiquitous in tropical reefs of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively. 2014. 2010. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta is one of the largest and most important components of Caribbean coral reef communities. 1, is found abundantly in reef communities. Halimeda. Symbiotic ties, bioactive compounds, and mysterious distributions of bacteria characterize these ancient invertebrates.