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The glass sponge Aphrocallistes vastus contributes to the formation of large reefs unique to the Northeast Pacific Ocean. These habitats have tremendous filtration capacity that facilitates flow of carbon between trophic levels. Their sensitivity and resilience to climate change, and thus persistence in the Anthropocene, is unknown. Here we show that ocean acidification and warming, alone and in combination have significant adverse effects on pumping capacity, contribute to irreversible tissue withdrawal, and weaken skeletal strength and stiffness of A. vastus. Within one month sponges exposed to warming (including combined treatment) ceased pumping (50–60%) and exhibited tissue withdrawal (10–25%). Thermal and acidification stress significantly reduced skeletal stiffness, and warming weakened it, potentially curtailing reef formation. Environmental data suggests conditions causing irreversible damage are possible in the field at +0.5 °C above current conditions, indicating that ongoing climate change is a serious and immediate threat to A. vastus, reef dependent communities, and potentially other glass sponges.
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SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | (2020) 10:8176 |
Warming and acidication threaten
glass sponge Aphrocallistes vastus
pumping and reef formation
A. Stevenson1,2,3 ✉ , S. K. Archer4,5, J. A. Schultz6, A. Dunham4, J. B. Marliave6, P. Martone7 &
C. D. G. Harley1,2
The glass sponge Aphrocallistes vastus contributes to the formation of large reefs unique to the
Northeast Pacic Ocean. These habitats have tremendous ltration capacity that facilitates ow of
carbon between trophic levels. Their sensitivity and resilience to climate change, and thus persistence
in the Anthropocene, is unknown. Here we show that ocean acidication and warming, alone and in
combination have signicant adverse eects on pumping capacity, contribute to irreversible tissue
withdrawal, and weaken skeletal strength and stiness of A. vastus. Within one month sponges
exposed to warming (including combined treatment) ceased pumping (50–60%) and exhibited tissue
withdrawal (10–25%). Thermal and acidication stress signicantly reduced skeletal stiness, and
warming weakened it, potentially curtailing reef formation. Environmental data suggests conditions
causing irreversible damage are possible in the eld at +0.5 °C above current conditions, indicating that
ongoing climate change is a serious and immediate threat to A. vastus, reef dependent communities,
and potentially other glass sponges.
Sponges have an important functional role in ecosystems worldwide and over the entire marine bathymetric gra-
dient where they eciently lter water, link food webs, and facilitate the ow of carbon between trophic levels13,
alter the water column and its processes4,5, and provide biogenic habitat6. is is particularly true for the glass
sponge Aphrocallistes vastus (class Hexactinellida), which – along with Heterochone calyx and Farrea occa – form
large biogenic reefs that cover several square kilometres of the seaoor o the west coast of Canada7,8. ese reefs
are built through larval sponges settling atop the fused dead skeletons of previous generations, and therefore
mechanical integrity of the sponge skeleton is vital to reef formation, persistence, and growth. While hexactinel-
lids are widely distributed in the deep sea (>70 m)9, in British Columbia (BC), Canada, they occur as shallow as
20 m and form complex reefs, which are home to a rich community of sh and invertebrate species6,10. ese reefs
process considerable volumes of water (465–47,300 L/m2 per day), twice as fast as the next most intense suspen-
sion feeding community in the ocean (i.e. mussel beds), which could have strong impacts on local and regional
bentho-pelagic coupling, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration6,11. ese globally unique glass reefs, prior to
their discovery in 1986, were thought to have been extinct for 40 million years7.
Although glass sponge reefs are now subject to ongoing intensive conservation eorts, responses of these and
other sponge-dominated communities to ongoing environmental change remain largely unknown. Acidication
could be detrimental to invertebrates, such as sponges, because of their inability to compensate for reductions in
extracellular pH12, but responses of non-reef-building marine sponges to acidication in the lab and eld are idio-
syncratic and highly variable1318. Also, no simple and consistent relationships have been found between tempera-
ture and pumping rate of ciliary suspension feeders19. Drastically dierent and species-specic responses to ocean
acidication and warming make it dicult to predict the vulnerabilities of sponge species that have not been
examined, like glass sponges. However, siliceous sponges, including hexactinellids, have survived pre-historical
mass extinction events caused by ocean acidication20,21. eir prevalence at natural volcanic CO2 seeps in Papua
1Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada. 2Institute for
the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 3Marine Evolutionary
Ecology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Dsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105, Kiel, Germany.
4Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacic Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9T
6N7, Canada. 5Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, 8124 Highway 56, Chauvin, Louisiana, 70344, USA. 6Ocean
Wise Research Institute, PO Box 3232, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B3X8, Canada. 7Department of Botany,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada. e-mail:
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New Guinea22, and persistence through rapid regional climate-induced warming along the Antarctic Peninsula23,
suggests that siliceous sponges may do well under conditions of acidication and warming.
Here, we conducted a four-month mesocosm experiment to assess the effects of elevated temperature,
CO2-induced acidication, and their interaction on pumping capacity, tissue withdrawal, and mechanical integ-
rity of the skeletal structure of the reef-building glass sponge A. vastus. For this study, 32 juvenile specimens
were randomly assigned to one of 16 aquaria (n = 2 per aquarium) set to one of four treatment combinations
(4 aquaria per treatment combination): (1) control (ambient temperature = 8.6 C and pH = 7.8), (2) reduced
pH (present-day temperature and projected year 2100 pH = 7.6; OA), (3) elevated temperature (projected year
2100 temperatures 10.4 C ( + 1.8 °C) and present-day pH = 7.8; OW) and (4) elevated temperature and reduced
pH (projected year 2100 temperatures and pH; OAW). Fluorescent dye (Calcein) was injected near the sponge’s
midsection to measure two aspects of pumping capacity: the time it took the dye to be expelled from the oscu-
lum (hereaer ‘minimum residence time’), and the vigor of the dye plume expelled from the oscula (‘pumping
strength’ hereaer). Pumping strength was scored over a gradient of 0–6: ‘weak’ = a diuse plume of dye (score
1–3), and ‘strong’ = dense plume of dye (4–6), ‘none= apparent pumping arrest (scored 0). ‘Apparent pumping
arrest’ does not correspond to pumping arrest because a owmeter was not used to record this, it does however
infer that pumping was so weak that it was not observed with the use of a dye. Apparent pumping arrest is a com-
mon behavioral response to exposure to a stressor such as sediment24,25. Onset of tissue withdrawal was noted
when it occurred. To assess sponge skeleton mechanical properties, we measured sponge skeleton fracture force
(breaking point) and modulus (stiness) at the end of the experiment.
Apparent pumping arrest
A greater proportion of sponges exposed to warming and/or acidication treatments ceased pumping than the
control sponges over the course of the experiment (Fig.1a), but there was no signicant eect of acidication,
warming, or their interaction on apparent pumping arrest over time (Table1a). e onset of apparent pumping
arrest was seen as early as two weeks in sponges exposed to warming (including OW and OAW), and the propor-
tion of individuals not ltering remained relatively stable in the OA and OW treatments, but there were uctua-
tions observed in the OAW treatment combination (Fig.1a).
Pumping capacity
Minimum residence times were similar across treatments early in the experiment, but then diverged through time
in response to acidication and warming (Fig.1b). Although minimum residence time remained constant in con-
trol tanks, it declined by 2- to 3.5- fold in sponges exposed to OA, OAW, OW treatment combinations. Individuals
subjected to acidication and warming separately pumped the dye signicantly slower than the control aer four
months (120 days) of exposure to these treatments (Table1b). Treatment interaction dampened this negative
response but not signicantly.
Aer four months of exposure, sponges in OA, OAW, and OW tanks showed reduced pumping strength,
by 2- to 5.5- fold compared to the control (Fig.1c). Strength was signicantly weaker in individuals subjected
to acidication and warming relative to the control (Table1c; Fig.1c). Warmed sponges (OW and OAW) had
depressed pumping strength as early as the rst sampling point, whereas sponges in the acidication only treat-
ment lost pumping strength more gradually (more details Supplementary TableS1). Notably, aer three months,
sponges exposed to elevated temperature alone showed increase in minimum residence time (slowed pumping)
and decrease in pumping strength, but the pumping capacity of individuals in the OAW treatment (exposed to
both acidication and warming) was relatively faster and stronger, similar to the acidied treatment. However, in
the nal (fourth) month pumping capacity of sponges in OAW ultimately worsened, mirroring that of individuals
subjected to warming (Fig.1). ese patterns resulted in a signicant Acidication x Warming x Time interaction
Tissue withdrawal
e eects of acidication and warming on tissue withdrawal were large in magnitude, but signicance was not
detected (Table1d), potentially as a result of the relatively low sample size (n = 8 per treatment combination). Yet,
trends are alarming and worth detailing: individuals subjected to warming (including OW and OAW treatment
combinations) had earlier onset (by one month) of tissue withdrawal relative to the control and OA treatment
combinations. By the end of the experiment all (100%) sponges in the OA and >75% of sponges in the warmer
(OW and OAW) treatment combinations had signs of tissue withdrawal, a 35–60% increase compared to con-
trol sponges (Fig.1d). e Cox proportional hazards regression model estimated hazard ratio (Exp. Coe. in
Table1d) suggests a threefold increase in the probability of acidied and warmed sponges showing signs of tissue
withdrawal compared to those in the control.
Skeletal breaking force per volume and stiness
Experimental treatment combinations (OA, OW, OAW) reduced the force per volume required to break A. vastus
skeleton (Fig.2a), but only a signicant eect of warming was detected (Table1e). Both acidication and warm-
ing signicantly reduced skeleton modulus (stiness; Fig.2b), meaning the skeleton became more elastic aer
four months exposure to these conditions (Table1f). ere were no signicant Acidication x Warming interac-
tion eects for these material properties.
Warming and acidication pose an immediate threat to sponge ltration and reef
Our results indicate that future acidication, warming, and their combination may have substantial adverse eects
on the pumping capacity, tissue withdrawal, and structural integrity of the glass sponge A. vastus, a species that
contributes to the formation of historically and ecologically important habitats unique to the Pacic Northwest.
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Figure 1. Apparent pumping arrest (a), minimum residence time (b), pumping strength (c), and onset of tissue
withdrawal (d) in the reef-building glass sponge Aphrocallistes vastus exposed to four treatment combinations.
Treatment combinations include: ambient conditions (‘Control’), CO2-induced acidication (‘OA’), increased
seawater temperature (‘OW’), and a combination of both (‘OAW’) for four months. (a) Colour gradient
represents total apparent pumping arrest (dark shade) to strong pumping (light shade). (b) ‘Minimum residence
time’ refers to time (in seconds) taken to expel dye from the oscula aer being injected with a xed volume,
mean values exclude individuals that were not pumping (assigned a pumping strength score of zero). (c)
‘Pumping strength’ is comprised of a score assigned to the volume of the plume expelled from the oscula, mean
values include individuals that were not pumping (score of zero). (d) “Kaplan-Meier survival curve” for the
probability of observing tissue withdrawal in each individual. 95% condence limits are shown (in d) and error
bars represent standard error (SE; in b, c) of the mean (n = 8 per treatment combination).
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Most worryingly, the onset of apparent pumping arrest was quick (occurring within two weeks) for sponges
exposed to elevated temperatures regardless of acidication. Subsequent degradation was observed two weeks
following apparent arrest. e rigid skeleton of glass sponges, like A. vastus, does not permit these animals to
contract like other sponges from class Demospongiae (which possess both protein and silica spicules) in response
to, for example, particle obstruction24,25. To protect themselves from this, glass sponges typically go into tempo-
rary apparent pumping arrest whereby they cease ltering particles from surrounding water to prevent particle
Source of error Estimate Std. Error z/t value p-value
Apparent pumping arrest (Binomial GLMM)
Intercept 4.1732 1.5045 2.774 0.0055
Acidication 2.0661 1.6943 1.219 0.2227
Warming 3.1130 1.6667 1.868 0.0618
Acidication × Warming 1.3895 1.9890 0.699 0.4848
Time 0.0212 0.0165 1.284 0.1990
Acidication × Time 0.0085 0.0194 0.437 0.6621
Warming × Time 0.0076 0.0188 0.404 0.6865
Acidication × Warming × Ti me 0.0101 0.0234 0.432 0.6659
Minimum residence time (LM, log-transformed)
Intercept 3.2466 0.1897 17.114 <0.0001
Acidication 0.0638 0.2637 0.242 0.8093
Warming 0.1749 0.2959 0.591 0.5555
Acidication × Warming 0.1127 0.4268 0.264 0.7922
Time 0.0043 0.0028 1.575 0.1178
Acidication × Time 0.0083 0.0040 2.094 0.0383
Warming × Time 0.0106 0.0043 2.448 0.0157
Acidication × Warming × Ti me 0.0120 0.0062 1.930 0.0559
Pumping strength (Poisson GLMM)
Intercept 1.2967 0.2202 5.890 <0.0001
Acidication 0.1080 0.3088 0.350 0.7265
Warming 0.6554 0.3694 1.774 0.0760
Acidication × Warming 0.0193 0.5029 0.038 0.9694
Time 0.0001 0.0021 0.069 0.9451
Acidication x Time 0.0095 0.0034 2.808 0.0050
Warming × Time 0.0093 0.0045 2.062 0.0392
Acidication × Warming × Ti me 0.0153 0.0061 2.524 0.0116
Probability of tissue withdrawal (Cox proportional hazards test)
Source of error Coecient Exp. Coe.Std. Err z-value p-value
Acidication 1.1961 3.3073 0.6859 1.744 0.0812
Warming 0.9815 2.6684 0.7101 1.382 0.1669
Acidication × Warming 0.8903 0.4105 0.8803 1.011 0.3119
Breaking force (LM)
Source of error Estimate Std. Error t-value p-value
Intercept 0.1049 0.0155 6.746 <0.0001
Acidication 0.0374 0.0220 1.703 0.1010
Warming 0.0479 0.0213 2.248 0.0336
Acidication × Warming 0.0451 0.0306 1.475 0.1526
Modulus (stiness) (LM)
Intercept 1.1803 0.1581 7.467 <0.0001
Acidication 0.5922 0.2327 2.545 0.0178
Warming 0.4688 0.2164 2.166 0.0405
Acidication × Warming 0.5436 0.3178 1.711 0.1000
Table 1. Results of the optimal, most parsimonious Linear and Mixed Models testing for independent and
interactive eects of acidication, warming, and time (where applicable) on Aphrocallistes vastus performance
and mechanical traits: a) apparent pumping arrest, b) minimum residence time, c) pumping strength, as well
as d) the Cox proportional hazards test results for the probability of tissue withdrawal, and e) skeleton breaking
force, and f) skeleton modulus (material stiness). e type of model, distribution, and transformation (where
applicable) used are summarized in brackets. ‘Acidication= CO2-induced acidication. Statistically signicant
eects in bold; alpha = 0.05.
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obstruction24. It is possible that treatments caused signicant stress, manifested as apparent pumping arrest lead-
ing to tissue withdrawal, throughout the experiment.
Warming can inuence sponge-feeding behavior by reducing choanocyte chamber density, size, and there-
fore ltration eciency26. Few glass sponges have successfully been kept in recirculating seawater, but for those
that did survive for weeks to months, unusual changes in the structure of choanocyte chambers were noted over
time27, which may help explain tissue withdrawal observed in control sponges. To the best of our knowledge there
have been no studies investigating the eects of acidication and warming on glass sponge ltration, but there are
some examples among demosponges. Similar to our ndings for A. vastus, Rhopaloeides odorabile shows drastic
reductions in pumping rates and feeding eciency in response to warming13. In contrast, Dysidea avara ltra-
tion rates remain unaected by natural changes in temperature28, but in Halichondria panicea rates increased at
higher temperatures19. Overall, available data suggest that ocean warming impacts on ltration capacity could be
species-specic, and the eects of warming will depend on whether a particular species is already near or above
its thermal optimum.
e action potential controlling ltration in glass sponge Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni, is known to function
within a narrow temperature range (7–12 °C)29, but it is unclear if this is the case for other glass sponges. Below
7 °C, sponges are unable to resume ltration aer arrest, and cannot undergo arrest at temperatures above 12 °C,
thereby making them more susceptible to starvation and clogging from sediments25. e ambient and upper limit
of the temperatures examined in the present study were within the physiological tolerance limits of glass sponges,
but signs of distress were still observed under the climatically realistic magnitude of warming used in our experi-
ment. It is possible that prolonged exposure (>2 weeks, as dened by our study) to warming might further restrict
the physiological limits of glass sponges and could cause a decrease in biomass of A. vastus populations as a result
of starvation (marked by apparent pumping arrest).
Periods of prolonged warming have already been observed in the eld, at the collection site of the present
study (Fig.3) and in other Howe Sound bioherms30. Warm periods, dened as temperatures reaching >10.4 C
with no more than 12 hrs of cooling (temperatures < 10.4 C), lasting 6–13 days occurred six times between July
and October, 2016, with ve brief periods of cooling in between warm periods, which corresponded to a weak
temperature anomaly (La Niña year)31. Results suggest that irreversible tissue withdrawal could take place in A.
vastus aer 30 days of exposure to warming (>10.4 C), which could have occurred if it were not for several brief
periods of cooling observed in the summer of 2016. Warming trends pose an immediate stress to glass sponge
reefs, as the addition of 0.5 °C to the 2016 pattern would result in 140 consecutive days of warming, a period
longer in length and warmer than the sponges were exposed to in the present study.
Figure 2. Max breaking force per volume (N/mm3; a) and mean modulus (stiness; MPa; b) withstood by
fresh juvenile Aphrocallistes vastus skeleton. Skeleton samples were tested at the end of the experiment aer four
months exposure to four treatment combinations: ambient conditions (‘Control’), CO2-induced acidication
(‘OA’), increased seawater temperature (‘OW’), and a combination of both (‘OAW’). Error bars represent
standard error (SE) of the mean (n = 8 sponges per treatment combination, with 5 measurements per sponge).
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Responses of glass sponges to ocean acidication have not previously been investigated; responses of species
in other sponge classes are not well known and, similar to responses to warming, appear to be species-specic.
Some species appear to be resistant to acidication: elevated temperatures caused signicant adverse eects on
abundant tropical sponge species, but acidication alone had little eect32. Cliona orientalis, a demosponge, had
increased bioerosion rates under acidied conditions14; demosponge species were present near Mediterranean
CO2 vent sites with pH values as low as 6.6 units16; no eect of acidication was found on the survival rates of
Crella incrustans18; and Mycale grandis showed extraordinary resistance to acidication17. In contrast, increased
mortality in response to acidication was seen in sponges Cliona celata15 and Tethya bergquistae18. Our study
suggests glass sponges are less sensitive to ocean acidication than warming, at least within the range of change
expected for these variables in the coming decades, but are not resilient to long-term exposure to either since both
elevated temperature and acidication ultimately had detrimental outcomes for the sponges.
Importantly, the interactive eect of acidication and warming had mitigating eects on the pumping capacity
of individuals exposed to warming for the rst three months, mirroring the response of acidied sponges. e
oscillations in pumping capacity and apparent arrest throughout the experiment suggest that the interactive eect
of acidication may cause the sponges to intermittently start/stop pumping. Contrary to our work, the interac-
tion between acidication and warming exacerbated the eect of temperature stress in heterotrophic sponge
species32. However, acidication may mitigate these stresses in phototrophic species, reducing mortality, necrosis
and bleaching of tropical sponges32,33. In the nal month of our experiment, individuals subjected to a combi-
nation of elevated CO2 with warmer temperatures performed similarly to the temperature treatment suggesting
that acidication may have a threshold and short-term buering capacity. Because acidication did not dampen
the presence of tissue withdrawal, it may not be able to mediate the eect of temperature and ultimate loss of this
species in the long term.
It must be noted that there have been documented mass mortality of glass sponges (including A. vastus) in
Howe Sound, where the sponges were collected for this study and several glass sponge reefs exist. ese extensive
glass sponge mortalities (including A. vastus) correlate with elevated temperatures reported during the 2009/2010
and 2015/2016 El Niño events30,34, and provide some indication that these sponges are sensitive to elevated tem-
peratures. However, this period of warming was not associated with a decrease in pH35. Furthermore, acidica-
tion independent of warming has been documented in Howe Sound, but not associated with sponge mortalities35.
From these eld observations there can be no conclusions drawn regarding how temperature and acidication
may interact in the eld and how acidication may impact the sponges under natural circumstances. However,
the patterns do qualitatively match the results seen in our experiment suggesting warming is the primary threat
to glass sponges.
e combination of reduced skeletal stiness (under warming and acidication) and strength (from warm-
ing) would be expected to slow or completely curtail reef formation. e fused and three-dimensional skeletal
network, comprised of biosilica and chitin, held together at the joints with low concentrations of calcite, is respon-
sible for the sponges’ rigid body that prevents disaggregation of the skeleton long aer its death, allowing for reef
development3639. e dictyonine skeleton (fused robust scaolding) is thought to reduce skeletal stiness in
glass sponges like A. vastus, providing natural exibility to minimize stresses posed by hydrodynamic forces in
shallower waters40. Material stiness values (measured as Young’s modulus) from previous work on A. vastus are
slightly higher (2.76–10.04 MPa)40 than those obtained in the present study (control sponges = 1.2 + 0.7 MPa).
Discrepancies might be due to life stage dierences as the present study was conducted on juvenile sponges
(3–8 cm in height). Regardless, warmed and/or acidified sponges were half as stiff as the control sponges.
Alterations to the skeleton, especially in terms of reduced stiness (increased exibility) as presented here, could
reduce feeding eciency, lowering the sponges’ critical water ow threshold, and potentially their distribution,
restricting them to waters with higher food availability. Furthermore, under warming conditions the more brit-
tle (measured as reduced force per volume) skeletons might collapse under the increasing weight of a growing
sponge, which can reach 2–3 m in height36, and/or might not be able to withstand the myriad animals walking
and swimming in and among the sponges40,41. Because we only examined material properties in living tissue, it is
Figure 3. Daily average, maxima, and minima of one year (January 2016 – December 2016) iButton
temperature logger data captured at the collection site, Field of a ousand, o west Bowen Island. Dashed line
represents the maximum temperature sponges experienced in the present study (10.4 °C). e recording iButton
temperature logger was positioned at 23 m. (Data courtesy of Ocean Wise Research Institute).
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SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | (2020) 10:8176 |
unclear how the dead skeleton would be altered by climate change and whether it too would succumb to the fate
of the living skeleton, but it is reasonable to suspect that dierences in skeletal strength apparent during life would
perpetuate aer death. is is critical as dead sponges are important for reef growth as larval glass sponges and
other invertebrates settle and grow on the macerated skeleton36. e unique architecture of glass sponges vital to
reef formation may be vulnerable to climate change.
Implications for associated biodiversity and ecosystem function
Exposure to acidication and warming reduced the feeding eciency (i.e. increased minimum residence time
and decreased pumping strength) of glass sponges, suggesting that the feeding ability of juvenile A. vastus might
be diminished (2–5.5 fold) by the end of the century as a result of climate change. Cascading eects of impaired
pumping on local and regional biogeochemical processes remain unknown, but are likely to be negative. Via their
remarkable ltration capacity, sponges convert large quantities of suspended particles and dissolved organic car-
bon (DOC) into food for other animals1. rough feeding, excretion, and symbiont microbial activity, sponges
are known to chemically transform seawater passing through their structure42. e 19 documented glass sponge
reefs in the Salish Sea, for example, collectively lter 1.04 × 1011L of water each day, representing 1% of the total
water volume in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound combined6. By doing so, glass sponges bring microbial
food energy from marine and terrestrial sources into local food webs by feeding on and removing up to 90% of
bacteria from the water11,43. Reduction in this tremendous ltration capacity, as well as the reefs’ eventual phys-
ical decimation, could alter local and regional microbial loop and energy supplied to the benthic community.
Examples of breakdowns in bentho-pelagic coupling exist: sponge populations in Florida Bay have historically
controlled phytoplankton blooms via particle removal and pumping rates44. Devastation of the sponge population
in the area lead to increased toxic blooms in Florida Bay. Reduced skeletal strength could act as a positive feed-
back loop further weakening the sponge infrastructure and making it more prone to damage from inhabitants
(sh and invertebrates) moving about the reef. Habitat loss as a consequence of ocean acidication45 and warm-
ing46 has negative downstream eects on biodiversity in coral reefs, mussel beds, and some macroalgal habitats.
Similarly, we anticipate biodiversity loss in these ancient glass sponge habitats as a result of climate change.
Collection and husbandry. Juvenile A. vastus, ranging in height from 3 to 8 cm, were randomly selected
from ‘Field of A ousand’ dive site on the west side of Bowen Island (49.396, 123.397) in Howe Sound, British
Columbia, Canada, under collection license XR 321 2017. Sponges were placed in plastic bags with ambient sea-
water (collected at depth) and stored in coolers for transportation to the laboratory at the University of British
Columbia. To ensure longevity, sponges were slow drip acclimatized to their tank chemistry over the course of
one hour by adding 100 mL of water to the collection bag (stored in a cooler) every 10 min from the respective
tank in which an individual sponge was to be housed.
Two sponges were placed in each of sixteen 250 L recirculating seawater aquaria bubbled constantly with
ambient air and equipped with a multistage ltration system, including biological lter (sock ltration, protein
skimmer, and bioballs) and UV sterilizer. e source seawater was obtained locally from 16 m depth in Burrard
Inlet, BC, and coarse ltered by the Vancouver Aquarium. Sponges were held in total darkness with red light
exposure during feeding. White light exposure was kept to a minimum, 1 hr per month or less, to measure pump-
ing activity and observe tissue withdrawal.
Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (using API Marine Master Test Kit) were monitored throughout the exper-
iment. Twenty percent water changes were performed when necessary. Water changes were also conducted at
least once per month during cleaning, which was kept at a minimum to avoid stressing the animals with excessive
water movement. Siliconoxide was monitored with Salifert Si Prole Test kit. To supplement silica content in the
water, two drops Sponge Excel Marine High-purity Silica from Brightwell Aquatics were added twice to each tank
throughout the experiment.
e sponges were fed twice daily at xed times (every 12 hrs) to approximate their natural exposure to tidal
rhythm. Each sponge tank received: in the morning, 0.5 mL Reef Nutrition Roti Feast + 0.5 mL Reef Nutrition
Oyster Feast/tank mixed with 10 mL seawater, fed to the sponges using Kent Marine Sea Squirt feeder; in the
evening, two drops of concentrated Sponge Power (Korallen-Zucht Sponge Power) directly added to each tank.
In addition, four times weekly, 0.5 mL Fauna Marine Ultra Min S and 0.5 mL Fauna Marine Ultra Min D mixed
with 10 mL seawater was added to each tank using Kent Marine Sea Squirt feeder. All food was injected near the
water’s surface to prevent contact or movement near the animal.
Experimental setup and water chemistry. e sponges were acclimated in their assigned tanks at
8–9 C for ve days without food; on the sixth day, the sponges were fed and tanks were set to their experimental
temperature and pH over 8 hrs. Experimental treatments were chosen based on conservative future projections
(temperature + 1.8 °C and ΔpH –0.2 units based on year 2100 projections)47. e 16 experimental aquaria were
divided equally into four treatments: (1) control (ambient temperature = 8.6 C and pH = 7.8), (2) reduced pH
(present-day temperature and projected year 2100 and pH = 7.6), (3) elevated temperature (projected year 2100
temperatures 10.4 C ( + 1.8 °C) and present-day pH = 7.8) and (4) elevated temperature and reduced pH (pro-
jected year 2100 temperatures and pH). Because of a leak in the CO2 canister, acidication took place one week
later than other treatments, but for conservative purposes its time span was treated similarly to other treatments
for analyses.
Temperature was maintained using individual chillers connected to each tank. Elevated CO2 concentrations
were achieved using mass ow controllers to bubble an appropriate mixture of compressed CO2 (100% CO2;
Praxair) and ambient air (drawn from outside the building) from an air compressor. Control tanks were bubbled
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SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | (2020) 10:8176 |
with ambient compressed air. Temperature was measured 5x per week using a combination of YSI (YSI Pro 30)
and mercury thermometer. Seawater pH was measured 3–4x per week using Oakton pH 450 (two-point calibra-
tion with saltwater buers AMP and TRIS, pH 6.77 and 8.09 respectively at 25 C). YSI was also used to monitor
Water samples for carbonate system parameters were collected bimonthly and stored with 10 μL Mercuric
Chloride 5% (w/v) Aqueous for future analysis. Dissolved inorganic Carbon (DIC) was measured using DIC
Analyzer Model AS-C3 Apollo Sci Tech, according to guidelines of the Standard Operating Procedure 248. ree
replicates of 0.75 mL were taken for each sample. Results were normalized to a Certied Reference Material (CRM
Batch No. 154) supplied by Prof. Andrew Dickson (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). Full carbonate system
parameters were conducted on the control and acidied treatments using CO2SYS49 (Table2).
Sponge pumping and tissue withdrawal. Pumping was monitored on days 16, 31, 50, 71, 92, and 120
from the start of the experiment. Two milliliters of freshly made uorescent Calcein dye (4 g/L; Syndel Laboratories
Ltd), a uorescent derivative of uorescein, was injected with a pipette positioned 0.5 cm from the sponge wall and
halfway down the sponge’s structure to measure pumping capacity, which was quantied by calculating the time
it took the dye to be expelled from the oscula (referred to as ‘minimum residence time’ hereaer), and scoring the
density of the plume expelled from the oscula (‘pumping strength’ hereaer). We calculated minimum residence
time as the amount of time in between dye injection and the emergence of the dye from the sponge osculum. Here,
the time it took for the dye to be expelled from a set distance was calculated not by noting the time the dye appeared
above the oscula (like in the dye front method50) but rather when it appeared at the edge of it (distance = 0 mm from
oscula) therefore a ow rate could not be calculated. We consider minimum residence time a proxy measurement
for pumping rate as we were unable to calculate pumping rate directly in such small specimens. In preliminary trials
we observed that sponges with similar minimum resident times diered signicantly in the shape of the exhalent
dye plume (see examples in Supplementary Videos S1). Consequently, we added a measurement we refer to as
“pumping strength”. Video of the sponges pumping were recorded with Sony Handycam so as to precisely measure
the minimum residence time. Average minimum residence time for each treatment did not include those sponges
that were not pumping. Pumping strength was scored over a gradient of 0–6: ‘weak’ = a diuse (score 1–3) and
‘strong’ = dense (4–6) plume of dye, and ‘none= apparent pumping arrest (scored 0). e term ‘Apparent pumping
arrest’ does not correspond to pumping arrest because a owmeter was not used to record this, it does however infer
that pumping was so weak that it was not observed with the use of a dye. Scores were determined by an unbiased
observer. e quantity of dye expelled, speed at which this dye was ejected, and continuous versus pus of dye were
all factors considered when scoring a plume. e presence/absence of tissue withdrawal was monitored daily until
rst signs of tissue withdrawal appeared. Withdrawn tissue was easily distinguished from healthy tissue by its trans-
lucent (colourless) nature whereas healthy tissue maintained its original beige or orange colour (Fig.4). Aer onset,
tissue withdrawal was monitored every two weeks, for the remainder of the experiment.
All sponges survived through to the end of the experiment, except one sponge in the control treatment that
died in the last month of the experiment. e nal time point of this sponge was excluded from the analyses
because its death was deemed to be caused by a microbial infection since the sponge died suddenly (within 24
hrs) despite pumping strongly and with no signs of tissue withdrawal, and developed strings of mucus in that 24
hrs period.
Mechanical properties. Skeleton breaking force per volume and modulus (stiness) was tested using a
standard compression method in a computer-interface tensometer (model 5500 R, Instron Corp., Canton, MA,
USA). Skeleton was selected halfway down the sponge and cut into square pieces (approx. 1 cm2). ese were
placed in the cross-beam of the instrument and a maximum force of 4 N was gradually applied (load rate = 0.25 N/
min; strain rate = 0.35 mm/s) to the skeleton until point of failure. Breaking force was recorded. Because thickness
diered by sponge (1.7–4.6 mm), measurements of sponge skeletal thickness and cross-sectional area were used
to standardize breaking force per volume. e compression surface consisted of a 3 mm diameter puncture probe.
Modulus was calculated by dividing material stress with strain (i.e. the slope of the stress-strain curve produced
during the compressive test). e average of 3–5 replicates was taken for analysis.
Statistical analyses. All statistical analyses were performed in R version 3.6.051 for Mac OS X. For all tests,
signicance was determined at p < 0.05. Data were transformed when necessary (as outlined below) to meet the
pH (+SD)*Te mp. ( +SD)*
(°C) DIC ( + SD)*
(μmol/kgSW) TA** (μmol/
kgSW) pCO2** (ppm)
Control 7.83 + 0.06 8.6 + 0.3 1928 + 32 1873 + 32 919 + 104
OA 7.62 + 0.08 8.6 + 0.3 2002 + 60 1894 + 59 1525 + 234
OW 7.86 + 0.06 10.4 + 0.4 na na na
OAW 7.62 + 0.07 10.3 + 0.4 2002 + 53 1897 + 49 1487 + 186
Table 2. Measured and calculated carbonate chemistry parameters for four treatment combinations: ambient
conditions (‘Control’), CO2-induced acidication (‘OA’), increased seawater temperature (‘OW’), and a
combination of both (‘OAW’). Parameters of carbonate seawater chemistry (total alkalinity (TA) and pCO2)
were calculated from measured dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), pH, temperature, and salinity values using
CO2SYS. SW – seawater; *Directly measured (n = 8 per treatment); **Calculated.
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SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | (2020) 10:8176 |
assumptions of normality and equal variance. All mixed models were performed with package ‘nlme52. Visual
inspection of standard model validation graphs was used to verify model assumptions: residuals versus tted val-
ues were used to verify homogeneity; a histogram or Quantile–Quantile (q–q) plot of the residuals for normality;
and residuals versus each explanatory variable to check independence. Fixed and random predictor variables
lacking explanatory power were eliminated via AIC model selection53. Optimal model structures were obtained
rst for random eects and next for xed eects. To account for repeated measures (on individuals) through time,
an autoregressive (AR1) correlation structure was included in the model during the selection process. In all cases,
the most parsimonious model was selected (i.e., the one without interactions and/or fewer terms, least complex
random structure, and removal of correlation structure where necessary).
Generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) were used to analyse apparent pumping arrest (GLMM, binomial
distribution) and pumping strength (GLMM, Poisson distribution). e best model included a random intercept
in which variation around that intercept depended on the sponge (nested within tank). Linear models (LM)
were used on log-transformed minimum residence time, breaking force per volume, and modulus datasets. A
“Kaplan-Meier survival curve” was generated using two pieces of data: status of nal observation and time to
event (here, rst sighting of tissue withdrawal). A Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to test
for the eects of acidication, warming, and their interaction on the probability of observing onset of with-
drawn tissue through time, using package ‘survival’54,55. e Cox proportional hazard assumption was tested
using Schoenfeld residuals with the function cox.zph. Sponges that did not show signs of tissue withdrawal were
censored (considered to not have reached tissue withdrawal).
Received: 12 December 2019; Accepted: 30 April 2020;
Published: xx xx xxxx
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is work would not have been possible without the dedicated eorts of Maya Brassard, Mikalyn Trinca Colonel,
Tadhg O Corcora, Emma Foxcro, Josianne Haag, Robert Hechler, Dr. Kyra Janot, Carli Jones, Madison Kaplan,
Lauran Liggan, Dr. Colin MacLeod, and Charlotte Matthews in the lab and Donna Gibbs and Lauran Liggan in
the eld. We thank Sheila Byers, Glen Dennison, and Prof. Sally Leys for their insights, and Dr. Alyssa Gehman
and Dr. Devin Lyons for their comments on earlier stages of the manuscript and statistical analyses. is work
was supported by the MEOPAR and NSERC CREATE Training Our Future Ocean Leaders Program postdoctoral
fellowships to A. Stevenson, a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant and Canada
Foundation for Innovation grant to C. Harley, and the Howe Sound Research and Conservation Group donors of
Ocean Wise Research Institute.
Author contributions
A.S., S.K.A., A.D., J.B.M., C.D.G.H. devised the study. A.S. and C.D.G.H. designed the mesocosm experiments.
A.S. and P.M. designed the biomechanics experiments. A.S. and J.A.S. planned and conducted eld work. A.S.
conducted experiments and laboratory work. A.S. wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed intellectual
input, edited and approved this manuscript.
Competing interests
e authors declare no competing interests.
Additional information
Supplementary information is available for this paper at
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to A.S.
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... While recent research has highlighted that V. pourtalesii might benefit from increased seawater temperatures by the potential extension of its geographical distributional range (Beazley et al., 2021), G. barretti was shown to express increased mortality under heat wave events (temperatures of 4 °C above average), which might occur with an increased frequency under future conditions in the NAO (Guihen et al., 2014). Furthermore, the combination of OA and OW has been shown to cause adverse physiological effects such as compromised pumping capacity and skeleton stability in deep-sea hexactinellid sponges (Stevenson et al., 2020). Sponges are often referred to as holobionts as they harbour a vast diversity of associated microorganisms within their tissues (Webster and Taylor, 2012). ...
... Geodia barretti, one of the most abundant and well-studied Geodia species in sponge grounds in the NAO has been shown to express an increased mortality under heat wave events (temperatures of 4 °C above average) (Guihen et al., 2014), highlighting the sensitivity of coldwater adapted sponge species to changes in environmental conditions (Strand et al., 2017). The interaction of OW and OA has been found to have adverse effects on the pumping capacity and tissue integrity in a deep-sea glass sponge from the North East Pacific (Stevenson et al., 2020). ...
... Ongoing fishing activities together with a higher frequency of natural re-suspension events have the potential to exceed the coping potential of V. pourtalesii towards suspended sediment exposure. Compromised fitness under the influence of suspended sediment and climate change effects such as ocean warming and acidification has been shown to compromise skeletal integrity and ecological functioning in a cold-water hexactinellid sponge species from the North Pacific Ocean (Stevenson et al., 2020). ...
... They are responsible for creating a flow of water with feed through abiological "sieve". However, as recently reported for the closely related A. vastus glass sponge, these species "typically go into temporary apparent pumping arrest whereby they cease filtering particles from surrounding water to prevent particle obstruction" [56]. Figure 5e) and the specific structure of colloidal biosilica, similar to the previously described one in other species of glass-sponges [13,39,55]. ...
... They are responsible for creating a flow of water with feed through abiological "sieve". However, as recently reported for the closely related A. vastus glass sponge, these species "typically go into temporary apparent pumping arrest whereby they cease filtering particles from surrounding water to prevent particle obstruction" [56]. In recent examinations, Confocal Micro X-ray Fluorescence (CMXRF) has already been successfully used for element analysis of spongin-based skeletal fibers of marine demosponges Hippospongia communis [57] as well as chitin-based demosponges Ianthella basta [58]. ...
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Structural bioinspiration in modern material science and biomimetics represents an actual trend that was originally based on the bioarchitectural diversity of invertebrate skeletons, specifically, honeycomb constructs of natural origin, which have been in humanities focus since ancient times. We conducted a study on the principles of bioarchitecture regarding the unique biosilica-based honeycomb-like skeleton of the deep-sea glass sponge Aphrocallistes beatrix. Experimental data show, with compelling evidence, the location of actin filaments within honeycomb-formed hierarchical siliceous walls. Principles of the unique hierarchical organization of such formations are discussed. Inspired by poriferan honeycomb biosilica, we designed diverse models, including 3D printing, using PLA-, resin-, and synthetic-glass-prepared corresponding microtomography-based 3D reconstruction.
... Further laboratory experiments are needed to confirm the effect of temperature on sponge loop pathway. Another possible explanation for the change in the detritus production we measured during the LT in 2020 is a reduction in sponge pumping rates as demonstrated in previous studies (e.g., Massaro et al., 2012;Stevenson et al., 2020). However, if there were a halt in pumping rates during extreme conditions, sponges would simply stop recycling nutrients and carbon, which was not the case. ...
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Sponges are a key component of coral reef ecosystems and play an important role in carbon and nutrient cycles. Many sponges are known to consume dissolved organic carbon and transform this into detritus, which moves through detrital food chains and eventually to higher trophic levels via what is known as the sponge loop. Despite the importance of this loop, little is known about how these cycles will be impacted by future environmental conditions. During two years (2018 and 2020), we measured the organic carbon, nutrient recycling, and photosynthetic activity of the massive HMA, photosymbiotic sponge Rhabdastrella globostellata at the natural laboratory of Bouraké in New Caledonia, where the physical and chemical composition of seawater regularly change according to the tide. We found that while sponges experienced acidification and low dissolved oxygen at low tide in both sampling years, a change in organic carbon recycling whereby sponges stopped producing detritus (i.e., the sponge loop) was only found when sponges also experienced higher temperature in 2020. Our findings provide new insights into how important trophic pathways may be affected by changing ocean conditions.
... Concentration is the key to determining the completion of the action. 12 Athletes lose control of their bodies when their attention is concentrated in one place. When the concentration is high, the body reacts and reduces the sensitivity to force. ...
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Introduction Physical training of high-level archers is a very critical point. It is now known that the ultimate goal of athletes’ training is to achieve a good competitive state in their physical training. This has revealed that the relationship between athletes’ attention stability and their performance in archery competitions also needs to be explored. Objective Analyze the fitness training methods for Chinese archers. In addition, this paper also explores the relationship between attention and performance in competitions. Methods By random sampling method, 24 archery athletes were investigated. They were divided into three groups: A, B, and C. Group A represented excellent scores (8), group B with good scores (8), and group C with average scores (8). Statistical methods were used to analyze and infer the data. Using the SPSS program, mathematical statistics were performed to objectify the data collected. Results Athletes in group A had the greatest increase in attention after training, showing statistical significance (P<0.01). The comparison between groups B and C also showed statistical significance (P<0.01). Significant differences were found in the stability of attention between the experimental and control groups. Conclusion The sport bow practice method can effectively improve athletes’ concentration. This training method showed a significant effect on improving archers’ attention and concentration. Level of evidence II; Therapeutic studies - investigation of treatment outcomes. Keywords: Athletes; Physical Education and Training; Attentional Control; Physical Fitness
... Furthermore, recent studies predict sponges will outlast the onslaught of warming oceans wrought by climate change, even with impacts such as anoxic conditions caused by eutrophication 4,12,13 . Conversely, opinions on the vulnerability of populations in the near future have been gaining traction [14][15][16][17][18][19][20] . ...
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Discovered in 1819 in the tropical waters off Singapore, the magnificent Neptune’s cup sponge Cliona patera (Hardwicke, 1820) was harvested for museums and collectors until it was presumed extinct worldwide for over a century since 1907. Recently in 2011, seven living individuals were rediscovered in Singapore with six relocated to a marine protected area in an effort to better monitor and protect the population, as well as to enhance external fertilisation success. To determine genetic diversity within the population, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear ribosomal DNA of these six individuals and found extremely limited variability in their genes. The low genetic diversity of this rediscovered population is confirmed by comparisons with close relatives of C. patera and could compromise the population’s ability to recover from environmental and anthropogenic pressures associated with the highly urbanised coastlines of Singapore. This lack of resilience is compounded by severe predation which has been shrinking sponge sizes by up to 5.6% every month. Recovery of this highly endangered population may require ex situ approaches and crossbreeding with other populations, which are also rare.
... Glass sponges require cold water, low light, high dissolved silica concentrations and low sedimentation rates (Leys & Lauzon, 1998). They disappear from modern deep offshore environments southwards to California as the bottom temperatures rise above 12°C (an increase as little as 0.5°C causes irreversible damage; Stevenson et al., 2020) and upwelling and productivity also increase (Kaempf & Chapman, 2016). Both radiolaria and glass sponges are susceptible to increasing hypoxia associated with ocean stratification and increasing upwelling (Conway et al., 2017), which is relevant to their disappearance in the overlying Grayling Formation. ...
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The Permian‐Triassic boundary sediments at Ursula Creek accumulated in a continental shelf basin, or on the continental slope of the western Canadian passive margin, at 30oN palaeolatitude along the eastern Panthalassic Ocean margin. The area lay within the cold northerly ocean currents at the junction of westerly and north‐easterly trade wind belts, the latter causing summer coastal upwelling. The shift from uppermost Permian grey radiolarian cherts and grey shales to lowermost Triassic grey and black shales and fine‐grained dolomites is typical of deep‐water Panthalassic sediments. The palaeogeographic situation and palaeoenvironments are comparable to those of the present Canadian north‐western Pacific margin. The Ursula Creek section reveals the progressive decline of seafloor oxygen values in the Changhsingian Stage), followed by the persistent development of euxinic conditions in the latest Changhsingian and throughout the Early Triassic; a transition that coincides with the disappearance of a siliceous sponge fauna and the loss of diverse radiolarian populations. Much of the detrital sediment was supplied by summer north‐east Trade winds from the deserts of western North America, although variable amounts may have come across the Panthalassic Ocean as dust from contemporary volcanic eruptions. Relative palaeoproductivity changes show no consistent change in productivity across the Permian‐Triassic boundary producing results that are comparable with those from the similar Opal Creek section to the southeast. The Ni/Co, Cu/Zn, U/Al and Th/U ratios indicate variable redox conditions in all sections, but with a tendency for oxic conditions to change to dysoxic across the Permian‐Triassic boundary. The lack of consistent element geochemical changes across the boundary accompanied by significant isotopic changes, here and elsewhere, suggests that atmospheric and oceanic chemistry rather than physical changes, like provenance and sea‐level changes, drove Permian‐Triassic environmental changes and extinctions.
Sponges are ecologically important benthic organisms with many important functional roles. However, despite increasing global interest in the functions that sponges perform, there has been limited focus on how such functions will be impacted by different anthropogenic stressors. In this review, we describe the progress that has been made in our understanding of the functional roles of sponges over the last 15 years and consider the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on these roles. We split sponge functional roles into interactions with the water column and associations with other organisms. We found evidence for an increasing focus on functional roles among sponge-focused research articles, with our understanding of sponge-mediated nutrient cycling increasing substantially in recent years. From the information available, many anthropogenic stressors have the potential to negatively impact sponge pumping, and therefore have the potential to cause ecosystem level impacts. While our understanding of the importance of sponges has increased in the last 15 years, much more experimental work is required to fully understand how sponges will contribute to reef ecosystem function in future changing oceans.
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Well-annotated and contiguous genomes are an indispensable resource for understanding the evolution, development, and metabolic capacities of organisms. Sponges, an ecologically important non-bilaterian group of primarily filter-feeding sessile aquatic organisms, are underrepresented with respect to available genomic resources. Here we provide a high-quality and well-annotated genome of Aphrocallistes vastus, a glass sponge (Porifera: Hexactinellida) that forms large reef structures off the coast of British Columbia (Canada). We show that its genome is approximately 80 Mb, small compared to most other metazoans, and contains nearly 2500 nested genes, more than other genomes. Hexactinellida is characterized by a unique skeletal architecture made of amorphous silicon dioxide (SiO2), and we identified 419 differentially expressed genes between the osculum, i.e. the vertical growth zone of the sponge, and the main body. Among the upregulated ones, mineralization-related genes such as glassin, as well as collagens and actins, dominate the expression profile during growth. Silicateins, suggested being involved in silica mineralization, especially in demosponges, were not found at all in the A. vastus genome and suggests that the underlying mechanisms of SiO2 deposition in the Silicea sensu stricto (Hexactinellida + Demospongiae) may not be homologous.
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Regrowth of body parts occurs in almost every phylum of the animal kingdom, but variation in this process across environmental, morphological, and behavioral gradients remains poorly understood. We examined regeneration patterns in feather stars – a group known for a wide range of morphologies and behaviors and up to a forty-fold difference in arm regeneration rates – and found that the variation in arm regeneration rates is best explained by swimming ability, not temperature, food supply, morphology (total number of arms and number of regenerating arms), or degree of injury. However, there were significant interactive effects of morphology on rates of regeneration of the main effect (swimming ability). Notably, swimmers grew up to three-fold faster than non-swimmers. The temperate feather star Florometra serratissima regenerated faster under warmer scenarios, but its rates fell within that of the tropical species suggesting temperature can account for intraspecific but not interspecific differences. We urge comparative molecular investigations of crinoid regeneration to identify the mechanisms responsible for the observed interspecific differences, and potentially address gaps in stem cell research.
In recent decades, the marine environment has been seriously affected by various anthropogenic activities (e.g., deforestation, fossil fuel combustion, and disordered discharges of pollutants). As a consequence, a range of changes in seawater environmental factors have taken place in oceans around the world, including increased temperature, reduced pH and dissolved oxygen, salinity fluctuation, and many other anomalous alterations in environmental factors, and these changes have aroused concerns from scientists. It has been widely reported that these changes in environmental factors would impact marine organisms severely. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the environmental stressors mentioned above are rarely occurring independently in nature. Thus marine organisms are usually threatened by many different environmental stressors, and there would be complex and unpredicted interactions among the stressors. Generally, the interactive effects varied among additive (total effect equal to the sum of individual effects), synergistic (total effect greater than the sum of individual effects), or antagonistic (total effect less than the sum of individual effects), depending on the species and life stages of the studied organism, and the nature of the stressors themselves. It is necessary to figure out the interactive effects among various environmental stressors on specific marine organisms to accurately predict their physiological states and population dynamics under future climate scenarios. Therefore in this chapter, we summarize the related experiments in the last 20 years to discuss the interactive effects of ocean acidification (OA) combined with four other typical environmental stressors, namely ocean warming, hypoxia, salinity fluctuation, and heavy metal pollution, on marine organisms according to previously published studies. The authors hope that the contents of this chapter provide some basic information about the interactive effects of OA and the other four environmental factors for readers who are interested in this subject area.
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Biogenic habitats play important roles in shallow-water ecosystems, but their roles in deeper waters are less well-studied. We quantitatively assessed 19 glass sponge reefs in the Salish Sea for live reef-building sponge cover and biodiversity, explored potential drivers behind variation observed among reefs, and quantified individual and collective roles the reefs play in filtration and carbon removal. The reefs support diverse and abundant communities of invertebrates and fish, with 115 unique taxonomic groups observed. Sponge cover varied widely between reefs: percent live reef-building sponge cover ranged from 0.2 to 17.5% and proportion of live reef habitat category ranged from 0.2 to 92%. These differences were predominantly driven by the seabed terrain characteristics such as seafloor rugosity, curvature, and depth; human pressure measures explored in this study - density of anthropogenic objects and fishing footprint over the past 17 years - did not mask the natural influence of seabed terrain. The difference in sponge cover between the reefs led to wide variation in ecosystem function with individual reefs processing between 465 and 47,300 L/m2 per day. Collectively, each day the 19 reefs filter 1.04 × 1011 L of water which corresponds to 1% of the total water volume in Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound combined. The reefs remove up to 1 g of carbon per m2 per day, comparable to carbon sequestration rates reported for terrestrial old growth forests and to "blue carbon" sequestration rates by marine vegetation. Implications for sponge reef conservation and monitoring are discussed.
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Ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) are threatening coral reef ecosystems, with a bleak future forecast for reef-building corals, which are already experiencing global declines in abundance. In contrast, many coral reef sponge species are able to tolerate climate change conditions projected for 2100. To increase our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning this tolerance, we explored the lipid and fatty acid (FA) composition of four sponge species with differing sensitivities to climate change, experimentally exposed to OW and OA levels predicted for 2100, under two CO2 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Sponges with greater concentrations of storage lipid, phospholipids, sterols and elevated concentrations of n-3 and n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated FA (LC PUFA), were more resistant to OW. Such biochemical constituents likely contribute to the ability of these sponges to maintain membrane function and cell homeostasis in the face of environmental change. Our results suggest that n-3 and n-6 LC PUFA are important components of the sponge stress response potentially via chain elongation and the eicosanoid stress-signalling pathways. The capacity for sponges to compositionally alter their membrane lipids in response to stress was also explored using a number of specific homeoviscous adaptation (HVA) indicators. This revealed a potential mechanism via which additional CO2 could facilitate the resistance of phototrophic sponges to thermal stress through an increased synthesis of membrane-stabilising sterols. Finally, OW induced an increase in FA unsaturation in phototrophic sponges but a decrease in heterotrophic species, providing support for a difference in the thermal response pathway between the sponge host and the associated photosymbionts. Here we have shown that sponge lipids and FA are likely to be an important component of the sponge stress response and may play a role in facilitating sponge survival under future climate conditions.
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Sponges link the microbial loop with benthic communities by feeding on bacteria. Glass sponge reefs on the continental shelf of western Canada have extremely high grazing rates, consuming seven times more particulate carbon than can be supplied by vertical flux alone. Unlike many sponges, the reef building species Aphrocallistes vastus has no microbial symbionts and removes little dissolved organic carbon. To determine how reef sponges therefore get enough food to sustain such substantial grazing we measured stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures of water, sediment and sponge tissues. To ensure samples were temporally associated, we also studied the duration particles were retained in tissues in controlled feeding studies using microscopic beads and 13C-labeled bacteria. Although fecal pellets were expelled from sponges within 24 hours of feeding, intact bacteria were still found in tissues and sponge tissues retained elevated 13C levels for at least 14 days. These independent lines of evidence suggest that carbon in reef sponge tissues may reflect food consumed from days to weeks earlier. Stable isotope analysis suggests that heterotrophic bacteria ingested by the sponges comes from a confluence of trophic subsidies: from terrestrial and oceanic sources, and also potentially on sediment-borne bacteria resuspended by tidal currents.
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There are still major gaps in our understanding of the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on some groups of organisms within different geographic regions. We investigated the effect of OA on two common and ecologically important temperate sponge species in New Zealand (Tethya bergquistae and Crella incrustans). Sponges were kept at pH 8 (control) and 7.6 for 4 weeks. Responses of the two species varied, with T. bergquistae kept at pH 7.6 showing some mortality in response to reduced pH and evidence of tissues necrosis. In contrast, only one C. incrustans died in the pH 7.6 treatment and showed little evidence of any tissue degradation. Only T. bergquistae showed evidence for physiological effects of reduced pH as respiration rates were generally higher in the pH 7.6 treatment. Our results provide preliminary evidence to support a general tolerance of temperate sponges to reduced pH, but that some species-specific responses may exist.
With the decline of reef-building corals on tropical reefs, sponges have emerged as an important component of changing coral reef ecosystems. Seemingly simple, sponges are highly diverse taxonomically, morphologically, and in terms of their relationships with symbiotic microbes, and they are one of nature's richest sources of novel secondary metabolites. Unlike most other benthic organisms, sponges have the capacity to disrupt boundary flow as they pump large volumes of seawater into the water column. This seawater is chemically transformed as it passes through the sponge body as a consequence of sponge feeding, excretion, and the activities of microbial symbionts, with important effects on carbon and nutrient cycling and on the organisms in the water column and on the adjacent reef. In this review, we critically evaluate developments in the recently dynamic research area of sponge ecology on tropical reefs and provide a perspective for future studies. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Marine Science Volume 12 is January 3, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.
Bottom-contact trawling generates large, moving clouds of suspended sediments that can alter the behaviour of organisms adjacent to trawl paths. While increased suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) are known to cause glass sponges to arrest filtration in lab studies, the response of sponges to sediment in situ is not yet known. Here we describe arrest behaviours in response to increased SSCs recorded from the glass sponge Aphrocallistes vastus at the Fraser Ridge sponge reef in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada. We identified 23 arrests of the sponges’ feeding current during experimental disturbances that raised SSC to between 10 and 80 mg l⁻¹. Single arrests lasted 4.25 ± 1.3 min (±SD) and were characterized by a 2 cm s⁻¹ reduction in feeding current lasting 0.5–3 min (mean 1.91 ± 0.97 min, n = 19). In comparison, coughing arrests varied in length (31 ± 22.89 min) and lasted 4–15 min (10.46 ± 5.26 min, n = 4). Coughing arrests showed a distinctive on/off pattern as sponge filtration returned to normal excurrent velocities, distinguishing them from single arrests. The onset of both arrest types was correlated with elevated SSCs (r = −0.83 to −0.92). Natural SSCs at the reef averaged 4.4 mg l⁻¹ and were correlated with tidal flow (r = 0.86 and 0.89). The combined data provide evidence that suspended sediments can stop glass sponge feeding in situ even at SSCs below those known to be generated by trawling.
This is a book for statistical practitioners, particularly those who design and analyze studies for survival and event history data. Its goal is to extend the toolkit beyond the basic triad provided by most statistical packages: the Kaplan-Meier estimator, log-rank test, and Cox regression model. Building on recent developments motivated by counting process and martingale theory, it shows the reader how to extend the Cox model to analyse multiple/correlated event data using marginal and random effects (frailty) models. It covers the use of residuals and diagnostic plots to identify influential or outlying observations, assess proportional hazards and examine other aspects of goodness of fit. Other topics include time-dependent covariates and strata, discontinuous intervals of risk, multiple time scales, smoothing and regression splines, and the computation of expected survival curves. A knowledge of counting processes and martingales is not assumed as the early chapters provide an introduction to this area. The focus of the book is on actual data examples, the analysis and interpretation of the results, and computation. The methods are now readily available in SAS and S-Plus and this book gives a hands-on introduction, showing how to implement them in both packages, with worked examples for many data sets. The authors call on their extensive experience and give practical advice, including pitfalls to be avoided. Terry Therneau is Head of the Section of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. He is actively involved in medical consulting, with emphasis in the areas of chronic liver disease, physical medicine, hematology, and laboratory medicine, and is an author on numerous papers in medical and statistical journals. He wrote two of the original SAS procedures for survival analysis (coxregr and survtest), as well as the majority of the S-Plus survival functions. Patricia Grambsch is Associate Professor in the Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. She has collaborated extensively with physicians and public health researchers in chronic liver disease, cancer prevention, hypertension clinical trials and psychiatric research. She is a fellow the American Statistical Association and the author of many papers in medical and statistical journals.