Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sponge Repair

The Breadcrumb Sponge, Halichondria panicea
Probably the most common sponge to be seen on Irish seashores is the Breadcrumb Sponge, Halichondria panicea. It can be seen on the lower shore, varying in colour from yellow to green, with crater like openings dotting the surface (1). These are the exhalent openings through which seawater passes.
The Breadcrumb Sponge, Halichondria panicea
H. panicea is predated by a number of organisms, generally molluscan (2). It is also prone to wave damage due to its frequent position on rock faces on the lower shore and these two destructive forces pose a real problem for the sponge. Yet it persists, often in large amounts. This is due to its incredible regenerative abilities. Simulation of feeding in H. panicea by creating grooves in the sponge resulted in high growth rates in these areas, with most of the damaged area being recovered within 4 weeks (3).

  1. Challinor et al., 1999 A Beginner's Guide to Ireland's Seashore p. 71
  2.  Knowlton and Highsmith, 2000 Marine Ecology Progress Series 197 pp. 285-291
  3. Knowlton and Highsmith, 2005 Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 327 pp. 36-46

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