Hartman, W.D.; Goreau, T.F. (1970). Jamaican coralline sponges: their morphology, ecology and fossil relatives. In: Fry WG (ed) The Biology of the Porifera. Symposium of the Zoological Society of London, Academic Press London. 25, 205-243.
Hartman, W.D.; Goreau, T.F.
Jamaican coralline sponges: their morphology, ecology and fossil relatives. <i>In</i>: Fry WG (ed) The Biology of the Porifera.
Symposium of the Zoological Society of London, Academic Press London
Proceedings of the 1st international Sponge Conference
A group of six species of sponges with a compound skeleton of siliceous spicules, organic fibers and aragonite has been found on the fore-reef slope of .Jamaican coral reefs. One of these is Oemtopol'ella nicholsoni (Hickson, I9ll), originally described as a coenothe- calian octocoral; another belongs to the genus JJlerlia Kirkpatrick, 1908; the remaining four represent new genera and species. In life all have a thin veneer of living tissue similar to that of the Demospongiae. The exhalent channels are often raised above the general surface of the sponges and create prominent star-shaped patterns which, in Oemtoporella, leave a stellate pattern impressed into the surface of the aragonitic basal mass. During deposition, the aragonite overgrows and entraps the siliceous and organic skeletal elements.
The calcareous skeleton of these coralline sponges bears certain striking resemblances to that of the stromatoporoids as suggested by Kirkpatrick with reference to Astrosclem Lister, 1900 and JJI81·lia. Support for this hypothesis follows: (I) the presence in some stromatoporoids of astrorhizae comparable to the stellate depressions left in the surface of Oemtoporella and Astrosclem by the exhalant channels; (2) isolated reports of spicules in stromatoporoids and the likelihood of the occurrence of calcareous pseudomorphs of spicules in others suggest a similarity to the siliceous-aragonitic skeletal complex in coralline sponges; (3) the fasciculate microstructure of the aragonite laid down by recent coralline sponges is identical in pattern to that of certain Paleozoic and most Mesozoic stromatoporoids.
The six coralline sponges are abundant on the most rugged and precipitous parts of the outer reef slope and have been collected by divers at depths ranging from 8 to about 92 m. Although ecologically a part of the ahermatypic cryptofauna of the reef, they are so abundant in places that they must be considered significant contributors of structur- ally consolidated calcium carbonate to the reef base.
A new class in the Phylum Porifera is proposed, to be called the Sclerospongiae.