Porifera / 18th June 2017

LUKOWIAK M. 2015. Late Eocene siliceous sponge fauna of southern Australia: reconstruction based on loose spicules record. Zootaxa 3917, 1: 1-65.
An abundant and diversified assemblage of siliceous loose sponge spicules has been identified in the Late Eocene deposits cropping out along the southern coasts of Australia. Based on the comparison of the obtained spicules with those of living sponges, representatives of at least 43 species within 33 genera, 26 families, and 9 orders of "soft" Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha have been identified in the assemblage. Within the studied sediments, the spicules representing demosponge orders Poecilosclerida, Hadromerida, and Astrophorida were the most diverse. The rest of the five demosponge orders (Halichondrida, Agelasida, Haplosclerida, Spirophorida, and Chondrosida) are represented by single families. Also, a single family Plakinidae within the class Homoscleromorpha that includes two genera was present. The diversity of spicules is similar in all studied samples and areas, even distant geographically, and there are only minor differences between the sections. That indicates a homogenous character of this rich siliceous sponge assemblage. Most of the studied sponge spicules have Recent equivalents among present-day siliceous spicules. However, the fossil ones are bigger which is most likely due to different environmental conditions. Among the recognized sponge species, at least eleven (Agelas cf. axifera, Agelas cf. wiedenmayeri, Penares sclerobesa, Histodermella australis, Trikentrion flabelliforme, Cliona cf. mucronata, Tethya cf. omanensis, Terpios sp., Placinolopha cf. sarai, Dotona pulchella, and Sigmosceptrella quadrilobata) are noted for the first time in the fossil record. [original abstract; Lukowiak]

LUKOWIAK M. 2016. Fossil and modern sponge fauna of southern Australia and adjacent regions compared: interpretation, evolutionary and biogeographic significance of the late Eocene 'soft' sponges. Contributions to Zoology 85, 1: 13-35.
The late Eocene 'soft' sponge fauna of southern Australia is reconstructed based on disassociated spicules and is used to interpret the paleoecology and environmental context of shallow marine communities in this region. The reconstructed sponge association was compared with coeval sponge assemblages from the Oamaru Diatomite, New Zealand, and with the modern 'soft' sponge fauna of southern coastal of Australia. Based on the predominance of shallow- and moderately shallow-water species, the late Eocene assemblage is interpreted to have inhabited waters depths of about 100 m. This contrasts with the spicule assemblage from New Zealand, which characterized deeper waters based on the presence of numerous strictly deepwater sponge taxa, and the absence of spicules of shallow-water demosponges represented in the Australian material. The southern Australian Eocene sponge assemblages have clear Tethyan affinities evidenced by the occurrence of sponges known today from diverse regions. This distribution suggests much wider geographical ranges of some sponge taxa during the Eocene. Their present distributions may be relictual. The modern sponge fauna inhabiting southern Australian waters shows only moderate differences from these of the late Eocene. Differences are more pronounced at lower taxonomic levels (family and genus). [original abstract; Lukowiak]

LUKOWIAK M. 2016. Spicular analysis of surficial sediments as a supplementary tool for studies of modern sponge communities. Helgoland Marine Research 70: 5. DOI 10.1186/s10152-016-0459-6
The method of spicular analysis that examines surficial sediments has been used to study the sponge spicule assemblage in the lagoon reef of Bocas del Toro, Panama. The method allowed to recognize some highly diagnostic spicule morphotypes that may belong to four sponge species as yet unnoticed in this area. The presence of these sponges must have been overlooked while studying faunistic compositions within an ecosystem due to their cryptic and/or excavating nature. Despite some limitations, the method of spicular analysis may be used as a supplementary tool for the studies of modern shallow-water sponge communities. [original abstract; Lukowiak]

LUKOWIAK M., PISERA A. 2016. Bodily preserved Eocene non-lithistid demosponge fauna from southern Australia: taxonomy and affinities. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. [published online]
Exceptionally well-preserved non-lithistid demosponge body fossils are reported from outcrops of the late Eocene Pallinup Formation, Fitzgerald River National Park, south-western Australia. Among 11 species, eight are new to science and belong to heteroscleromorph orders: Bubarida (Eolipastrotethya picketti gen. et sp. nov., Monocrepidium unispiculatum sp. nov. and M. pauli sp. nov.), Axinellida (Phycopsis arbusculum sp. nov.) and Tetractinellida (Triptolemma solida sp. nov., Pachastrella intermedia sp. nov., P. australis sp. nov. and Geodia hopetouni sp. nov.). A further three species are representatives of the orders Clionaida, Bubarida and Tetractinellida. This fauna has clear affinities with living taxa. Close relationships with some Recent Atlantic species may be understood in the context of a Tethyan legacy. New light is shed on the evolutionary histories of several taxa that are reported for the first time in the fossil record. [original abstract; Lukowiak]

LUKOWIAK M., PISERA A., O'DEA A. 2013. Do spicules in sediments reflect the living sponge community? A test in a Caribbean shallow-water lagoon. Palaios 28: 373-385.
We compared sponge spicules occurring in surface sediments with those of a living sponge community in a shallow-water reef environment of Bocas del Toro archipelago, Panama, with the goal of evaluating how faithfully spicular analysis reflects the living sponge community. Most megasclere morphotypes present in living species are also found in sediment. On the contrary, microscleres are underrepresented in the sediment samples. Apart from spicules that belong to taxa that live at present in the area, some morphotypes found in the sediment have no equivalent in the known living community. Forty species of living sponges have been recognized in the study area, but 9 (22%) do not produce mineral spicules and, therefore, are not recorded in sediment. Sediment spicules suggest the presence of 22 taxa, thus, loss of information in the process of fossilization is average to considerable, with most living taxa identified also with sediment spicules. Some morphotypes are abundant in sediment (i.e., ovoid spicules) even though the sponges bearing them are rare or absent, thus suggesting either preferential preservation or recent disappearances of taxa producing them. As transport did not play a significant role during the fossilization process, spicular analysis - when all limitations and constraints are considered - is a tenable tool in the reconstruction of former sponge communities, but not of the share of various sponge species. Spicular analysis may also help reveal the presence of cryptic and excavating species that are often overlooked in traditional studies. [original abstract; Lukowiak]

LUKOWIAK M., PISERA A., SCHLOGL J. 2014. Bathyal sponges from the late Early Miocene of the Vienna Basin (central Paratethys, Slovakia). Paläontologische Zeitschrift 88, 3: 263-277. [corrected note: added by Lukowiak: volume number, issue and pagination; for abstract see FC&P38-2: 56]

PETEK S., DEBITUS C. (coordinators), HALL K. A., SUTCLIFFE P. R., HOOPER J. N. A., ALENCAR A., VACELET J., PISERA A., FOLCHER E., BOURGEOIS B., BUTSCHER J., RENAUD A., LEROUVREUR F., FLEURISSON D., OREMPULLER J., MAIHOTA N., LEVY P., HERTRICH L. 2017. Sponges of Polynesia. https://sponges-tahiti.ird.fr/pdf/sponges-polynesia-2017.pdf (829pp).
Abstract: Surveys of French Polynesian sponges were undertaken over many years to fill the gap in our knowledge of this group as a cornerstone for the conservation of marine biodiversity, and also to investigate potential new economical resources in French Polynesia. The website https://sponges-polynesia.ird.fr/ and this eBook, generated from the website, are updated monthly from the Queensland Museum's database http://www.spongemaps.org/. "Sponges of Polynesia" is a database of the sponge fauna in French Polynesia, with photographs, descriptions, distribution and habitat.
Foreword (extracts): [...] Surveys of French Polynesian sponges were undertaken over many years to fill the gap in our knowledge of this group as a cornerstone for the conservation of marine biodiversity, and also to investigate potential new economical resources in French Polynesia. Like all Pacific Island countries, preservation of the environment often depends closely on placing value on the natural resources, including marine natural products as potential sources of new pharmaceuticals. [...]
Specimens were assigned to an OTU (morphospecies or operational taxonomic unit) and its characteristics documented in an online summary description (or 'mudmap' available at www.spongemaps.org). This rigorous process ensured that every specimen acquired was assigned to an OTU (irrespective of whether it was a named taxon recognised within the Linnaean classification system), to enable unequivocal comparison across all collections as 'same' or 'different'. Currently, these morphological hypotheses are being tested and supported by independent molecular datasets for a significant number of sponge specimens vouchered in QM collections (see the Sponge Barcoding Project, www.spongebarcoding.org). [...]
Finally, this website is linked to the Queensland Museum's database and therefore to WoRMS, GBIF, and automatically updated once a month, therefore ensuring sustainability of this work. The monthly updated E-book can be downloaded and taken into the field. We hope this work will fulfill the curiosity of people interested in their marine environment, eco-divers who are a great part of tourists in French Polynesia, and scientists alike.

PISERA A., LUKOWIAK M., FROMONT J. 2016. First record of the genus Vetulina (Porifera: Demospongiae: Sphaerocladina) from the Indian Ocean with the description of two new species: biogeographic and evolutionary significance. 3rd International Workshop on Taxonomy of Atlanto-Mediterranean Deep-Sea Sponges 2016. [abstract volume ?]
Two new species of the genus Vetulina Schmidt, 1879 (Demospongiae, Sphaerocladina) were found off the coast of Western Australia (Indian Ocean) [...] This finding is the first occurrence of Vetulina outside the Caribbean Atlantic, and the first report from the Indian Ocean. Such a disjunct distribution is considered here to be a relict of a once widely distributed sponge population in the ancient Tethys Ocean. [first and last part of a conference abstract (?)]

PISERA A., LUKOWIAK M. A., FROMONT J., SCHUSTER A. 2017. First record of the genus Vetulina Schmidt, 1879 (Porifera: Demospongiae: Sphaerocladina) from the Indian Ocean with the description of two new species: biogeographic and evolutionary significance. Marine Biodiversity DOI 10.1007/s12526-017-0658-7
[keywords: Lithistids; Vetulinidae; Vetulina indica sp. nov.; Vetulina rugosa sp. nov.; Tethys Sea]
Two new species of the genus Vetulina Schmidt, 1879 (Demospongiae, Vetulinidae, Sphaerocladina) were found off the coast of Western Australia (Indian Ocean). This genus is characterized by acrepid polyaxial desmas (sphaeroclones) equipped with arborescent branched outgrowths with spine-like processes and isometric styles as microscleres. Vetulina indica sp. nov. is an irregular, laterally folded ear-shaped cup with smooth surfaces, and V. rugosa sp. nov. is similar in shape but with a distinctive ribbed inner surface. Both species are very similar in spicule composition, but are distinguished by their gross morphology and pattern of canal openings on the surface. Despite the fact that we could not distinguish the two specimens based on molecular (CO1) data, we consider them as two separate species based on the morphological species concept. Our molecular phylogeny confirms again that Vetulina is sister to spongillids (freshwater sponges). This is the first occurrence of this genus outside the Caribbean Atlantic, and the first report from the Indian Ocean. Such a disjunct distribution is considered here to be a relict of a once widely distributed sponge population in the ancient Tethys Sea. [original abstract]

UNGUREANU D., AHMAD F., FAROUK S. 2017. A Callovian (Middle Jurassic) poriferan fauna from northwestern Jordan: taxonomy, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography. Historical Biology 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2017.1304935; online since 24 March 2017.
[keywords: Sponges, Callovian, Mughanniyya Formation, Jordan]
The present work describes the first fossil sponge assemblage from Jordan, belonging to Demospongiae and Calcarea; hexactinellid sponges are absent from the collections. Mughanniyyum hanium gen nov., sp. nov. is described, and a new subfamily, Jordaniinae, is proposed, belonging to Scleritodermatidae (Demospongiae). Another new demosponge species, Geoditesia jordaniensis sp. nov., is described on the basis of well-preserved specimens. The genus Geoditesia is previously known only from loose Geodia-type spicules. It is the first description of an articulated sponge bearing this kind of spicule. The assemblage is compared with similar occurrences in the Negev Desert (Israel) and Kachchh Basin (India). While the sponge fauna and the facies represented by the Negev Desert assemblage are very different, in the Kachchh Basin there are sponges present with similar external morphology belonging to related taxonomic groups. The palaeobathymetry of the studied sections from Jordan indicates slightly shallower water than in the Kachchh Basin. There is also slight stratigraphic difference between Jordan and the Indian Basin, in that the Jordanian assemblage is of Callovian age, while in Kachchh it is Bathonian. [original abstract]