The sponge community of a subtidal area with hydrothermal vents: Milos Island, Aegean Sea

M. Pansini, C. Morri, C.N. Bianchi

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Sponges were sampled by SCUBA diving at six subtidal rocky sites, three of which were close to hydrothermal vents, a common feature on the sea-floor off the south-east coast of Milos. Twenty-five species (2 Calcarea and 23 Demospongiae) were found, few compared with the 589 recorded for the Mediterranean, but an important addition to the scant information on the sponge fauna of the Aegean Sea. The number of species found at vent sites was consistently higher than that found at non-vent sites, but no vent-obligate species could be identified. However, Geodia cydonium and three species of Cliona (C. copiosa, C. nigricans and C. rhodensis) showed a tendency to colonize vent areas. The former might take advantage of increased silica availability, the latter of the enhanced deposition of carbonates near vents. Substratum cover by sponges (estimated from wire-framed photographs of 0.7 m2), varied greatly both among and within sites, mostly according to slope. Most sponge species preferred vertical to overhanging, shaded substrata. Proximity to vents seemed to have little or no influence on sponge cover, notwithstanding a primary effect on species diversity. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627 - 635
Number of pages9
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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