- Root-derived organic matter confines sponge community composition in mangrove ecosystems
- Ecological Processes
- Volume | Issue number
- 2013 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Caribbean mangrove-associated sponge communities are very distinct from sponge communities living on nearby reefs, but the mechanisms that underlie this distinction remain uncertain. It has been hypothesized that dissolved organic matter (DOM) leaching from mangrove roots and the ability of mangrove-associated sponge-bacterial consortia to degrade mangrove DOM may cause this distinction.
This study tested whether mangrove DOM, leaching from mimicry substrates or directly injected in sponge tissue, affected the performance of a reef and a mangrove sponge species.
Controls and the mangrove sponge remained unaffected by mangrove DOM leaching from mimicry substrates or directly injected in sponge tissue, but the reef species showed substantial necrosis when exposed to mangrove DOM.
Results presented in this study suggest that mangrove DOM confines the composition of sponge communities in mangrove ecosystems, explaining the exclusion of typical reef species and the adjacent occurrence of distinct sponge communities.
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