Porifera / 9th December 2016

BOTTING J. P. 2016. Diversity and ecology of sponges in the Early Ordovician Fezouata Biota, Morocco. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 460, 15 October 2016, pp 75-86; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.05.018
[keywords: Porifera; Exceptional preservation; K-selection; Palaeoecology; GOBE]
Sponges form a significant component of the diversity of the Tremadocian (Early Ordovician) Fezouata Biota in the Anti-Atlas of Morocco, but are distributed intermittently and have so far received only limited attention. New material reveals a high diversity of undescribed taxa (a total of at least 27 species), including numerous representatives of protomonaxonid groups such as the Leptomitidae, Piraniidae and "Choiidae". Some of these taxa show unusually complex skeletal architecture, and represent derived variations of their lineages relative to those in the Cambrian Burgess Shale-type faunas, although most species are assignable to described families. Reticulosan sponges are rare in the Fezouata Biota, and usually fragmentary. The palaeoecology of the sponge fauna is unusual, with most species known only from single sites (frequently single bedding planes), but are often abundant where they occur. It is very rare for two species of sponge to be found on the same slab, or at precisely the same horizon. With some species of protomonaxonid, particular bedding planes are crowded with individuals of species that are rarely, if ever, found isolated. Only two species (Pirania auraeum Botting, 2007 and an undescribed hazeliid) are found at numerous levels, and these are not known from crowded assemblages; this may relate to differences in reproductive strategy. The dense, usually monospecific populations can best be explained through repeated colonisation events in a frequently hostile environment, rather than representing a range of different stable communities. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

CARRERA M. G., RUSTAN J. J. 2015. The new genus Talacastospongia: insights on the first record of a Devonian sponge from South America. Journal of Paleontology 89, 6: 912-919.
The Lower Devonian (Lochkovian) hexactinellid sponge Talacastospongia minima new genus new species is reported from the lower beds of the Talacasto Formation in the Argentine Precordillera. It represents the first Devonian sponge from South America and the best record in the paleobiogeographic context of the Malvinokaffric Realm, otherwise virtually devoid of spiculate sponges. This discovery provides some tentative insights on the age and oldest record of the Family Pileolitidae. The paleogeographical context for this new finding shows a high latitude setting with a notable scarcity of hexactinellid sponges recorded to date in Devonian Malvinokaffric basins, and the absence of calcareous spiculate sponges (heteractinids) and hypercalcified sponges (stromatoporoids, sphinctozoans). [original abstract; Wrzolek]

CHANG Shan, FENG Qinglai, CLAUSEN S., ZHANG Lei 2016. Sponge spicules from the lower Cambrian in the Yanjiahe Formation, South China: the earliest biomineralizing sponge record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, available online 22 June 2016; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.032
[keywords: Terreneuvian; Hexactinellid spicules; Diversification; Biomineralization; Evolution]
Sponges are the earliest metazoans, and according to molecular-clocks, have a deep history back into the Cryogenian. However, the record of their biomineralized elements below the Ediacaran-Cambrian Boundary has been controversial. Here we present the first and earliest indisputable record of hexactinellid spicules in the lowest Cambrian, Terreneuvian, below the small shelly fossil Anabarites trisulcatus–Protohertzina anabarica assemblage zone (Zone I). Spicules recovered from cherts of the lowest Yanjiahe Formation in the Yichang, Hubei province, South China, include monaxons, diaxons, triaxons, and that are all siliceous in composition. This earliest record of silica biomineralization by filter feeding metazoan suggests sponges have contributed to the cycling of silica in the oceanic system as early as the beginning of the Phanerozoic. These results, along with a review of previously reported sponge occurrences, suggest a two-step evolution on sponges of the early Cambrian.

LEE Jeong-Hyun, WOO Lee, WOO Jusun, LEE Dong-Jin 2016. The earliest reef-building anthaspidellid sponge Rankenella zhangxianensis n. sp. from the Zhangxia Formation (Cambrian Series 3), Shandong Province, China. Journal of Paleontology 90, 1: 1-9.
This study reports the earliest known reef-building anthaspidellid sponge, Rankenella zhangxianensis n. sp., from the Cambrian Series 3 (late Stage 5 - early Guzhangian) deposit of the Zhangxia Formation, Shandong Province, China. Rankenella zhangxianensis mostly occurs within Epiphyton-Rankenella-Cambroctoconus reefs, with minor occurrence from inter-reef grainstone. The species has anthaspidellid-type regular ladderlike spicule networks consisting of dendroclones and trabs, and is characterized by trabs parallel/subparallel to the gastral surface that diverge and meet the dermal surface, which is typical of the genus. Compared to R. mors and R. hamdii, reported from the late Cambrian Series 2 - late Cambrian Series 3 of Australia and the late Cambrian Series 3 - early Furongian of Iran, respectively, R. zhangxianensis is characterized by a relatively thicker wall, high angle (~90°) between dermal surfaces and intersecting trabs, and minor occurrence of differentiated canals. On the other hand, R. zhangxianensis mainly shows obconical shape, which is far less diverse than the other two species showing conicocylindrical, digitate, explanate, or bowl shapes. These Cambrian Series 3 reefs from China are the ancestors of the Furongian anthaspidellid-microbial reefs and the Early Ordovician anthaspidellid-microbial reefs that flourished worldwide. They represent the resurgence of reef-building metazoans after the extinction of archaeocyaths at the end of Cambrian Series 2. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

LI Q., LI Y., KIESSLING W. 2016. The oldest labechiid stromatoporoids from intraskeletal crypts in lithistid sponge-Calathium reefs. Lethaia, DOI: 10.1111/let.12182 (online since 20 May 2016).
Early Ordovician (early Floian) reefs of South China include lithistid sponge - Calathium reefs with a three-dimensional skeletal framework. These structures are among the first post-Cambrian skeletal-dominated reef structures and provides an opportunity to test how the novel metazoan builders changed the environments and increased topographic complexity within benthic communities. We document the oldest labechiid stromatoporoid (Cystostroma) in a lithistid sponge - Calathium reef of the Hunghuayuan Formation in southeastern Guizhou, South China. These earliest stromatoporoids may have originated in reefs, and we argue that the complex topography created by the hypercalcified sponge Calathium facilitated the emergence of stromatoporoids. Beyond Cystostroma, keratose sponges, Pulchrilamina (hypercalcified sponge) and bryozoans have also inhabited in the micro-habitats (cavities and hard substrates) provided by Calathium. These findings suggest that ecosystem engineering by Calathium played an important role in the further diversification of reefs during the Ordovician. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

MASSE S., PISERA A., LAURENT G., CORADIN T. 2016. A Solid State NMR Investigation of Recent Marine Siliceous Sponge Spicules. Minerals 2016, 6, 21; doi:10.3390/min6010021
[keywords: sponges; silica; solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)]
The composition of four recent siliceous marine sponge spicules was studied and compared. In particular, multinuclear (29Si, 13C, 31P) solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) allowed the characterization of both the mineral and organic constituents in a non-destructive manner. The silica network condensation was similar for all samples. The organic matter showed a similar pattern but varied in abundance as a function of the sponge group (Hexactinellida or Demospongiae) and sampling conditions (living or dead organisms). This indicates that the striking morphological differences observed at the macroscale for the various samples do not lead to significant fingerprints in the spectroscopic signatures of the mineral and organic constituents. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

RICHTER G., BASZIO S. 2009. Geographic and stratigraphic distribution of spongillids (Porifera) and the leit value of spiculites in the Messel Pit Fossil Site. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 89, 1: 53-66.
[keywords: Eocene; Messel; Spongillidae; Biostratigraphy]
Several hundred samples from outcrops and drilling cores in the Eocene Messel Fossil Site (near Darmstadt, Germany) were analyzed to study the geographic and stratigraphic distribution of spongillid spicules and spiculite layers. We attempted to correlate the various spiculite occurrences and marker horizon M. The core of the scientific drilling project "FB 2001" is used as a reference, because it reaches the oldest limnic sediments of the fossil lake in a depth of about 140m below the topographic surface. Only two spiculites are present in this core and they are restricted to the youngest lake sediments. Each spiculite is dominated by one of the two spongillid species known from Messel. In all older sediments, only a few scattered spicules of unknown origin occur. All other outcrops and drill cores show more or less similar distribution patterns. Abundance and distribution of fossil sponge species in Eocene Lake Messel and their value for the correlation of strata are discussed. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

STANTON R. J. Jr, LAMBERT L. L., WEBB G. E., LUSTIG L. D. 2016. Chaetetes morphology, environment, and taxonomy. Facies 62: 29. doi:10.1007/s10347-016-0479-3
[keywords: Chaetetes; Morphology; Growth style; Paleoenvironment; Taxonomy; Hueco Mountains; Texas]
Chaetetes, a hypercalcified sponge, formed expansive biostromes in Atokan strata of the Hueco Mountains, West Texas, where they grew in very shallow water on a broad shallow carbonate shelf. The Chaetetes there have tabular, columnar, compound-columnar, and branching shapes, and grew to heights of greater than 1 m. In most cases, they grew from a point source with an axial growth style. The laminar growth style occurs rarely, overlying growth interruption surfaces and where initial growth was on a hard surface such as solitary rugose corals. From the analysis of these fossils in the context of their inferred paleoenvironment, and integrating observations and available data from other localities, we conclude that the morphology of Chaetetes - their shape and growth style - was determined primarily by sedimentation parameters concurrent with their growth. These parameters were substrate character - texture and firmness - and both overall rate of sediment accumulation and variations in the rate relative to the rate of Chaetetes growth. Six species of Chaetetes were described previously in North America. Four of these are too incompletely known to be of taxonomic value. The other two, Chaetetes milleporaceus and Chaetetes favosus, form a continuum of morphotypes that is interpreted here to represent a single species, C. milleporaceus by priority. [original abstract; Wrzolek]

SWIERCZEWSKA-GLADYSZ E. 2010. Hexactinellid sponges from the Santonian deposits of the Krakow area (Southern Poland). Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae 80, 3: 253-284.
[keywords: sponges; Hexactinosida; Lychniscosida; taxonomy; Santonian; Upper Cretaceous; southern Poland]
Hexactinellid sponges are extremely abundant in the basal sequence of the Santonian of the Krakow region. This is the only known area in Poland where Santonian deposits with sponges are exposed. The studied sponges are redeposited and probably represent a Santonian or/and Coniacian assemblage. They inhabited a quiet, deeper part of the epicontinental sea that covered the southern part of Poland in Late Cretaceous times. * This paper is a taxonomic revision of sponges collected from this region by the late Prof. J. Malecki. Based on existing old collections and newly collected material comprising 1020 specimens, 34 species have been described, including 14 belonging to the Hexactinosida and 20 to the Lychniscosida. * All sponge species occurring in the Santonian succession of the Krakow area are also known from various Late Cretaceous sponge assemblages of Europe. Five species described, i.e. Eurete halli (Schrammen), Lefroyella favoidea Schrammen, Spirolophia tortuosa (Roemer), Coeloptychium lobatum Goldfuss, and Wollemannia araneosa Schrammen have not been so far noted in pre-Campanian deposits. The examined assemblage is particularly similar to the sponge fauna from the Middle Coniacian - Middle Santonian deposits of England and from the Lower Santonian of Russia (Saratov area). [original abstract; Wrzolek]

SWIERCZEWSKA-GLADYSZ E. 2012. Late Turonian and Early Coniacian ventriculitid sponges (Lychniscosida) from Opole Trough (southern Poland) and their palaeoecological significance. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae 82, 3: 201-224.
[keywords: sponges; Lychniscosida; taxonomy; palaeoecology; Upper Cretaceous; Opole Trough; southern Poland]
Eight species of ventriculitid sponges (Order Lychniscosida Schrammen, 1903) are described from the Upper Turonian marly limestones and Lower Coniacian marls of the Opole Trough (southern Poland). Among them four have not previously been noted in this area. Two species, Astropegma stellata (Roemer, 1840) and Leiostracosia robusta (Schrammen, 1902) are reported from Turonian strata for the first time. The occurrence of ventriculitid sponges in the Upper Turonian-Lower Coniacian succession of the Opole Trough indicates a soft- bottom, calm-water environment, with depths below the storm-wave base and a low rate of sedimentation. [original abstract; Wrzolek]