Checklist, diversity descriptors and selected descriptions of a highly diverse intertidal sponge (Porifera) assemblage at Costa do Descobrimento (Bahia, Brazil)
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Costa do Descobrimento is located in southern Bahia, Brazil, and only 22 species of sponges (Porifera) were known from the area until now, despite its important reef formations. In the present study, we report a checklist of the sponges of Costa do Descobrimento and their distribution in the studied reefs, with several species illustrated in life. We also describe nine new sponge records for this region, some of which are new records for Brazil, or new records of species previously only poorly known. We present alpha and beta diversity indices and compare the sponge assemblage of the sampled
locations. Four reefs were considered: two fringing reefs (Arraial D’Ajuda—AA and Coroa Vermelha / Mutá—CVM) and two offshore Municipal Marine Park “Parque Municipal Marinho— (P.M.M. Coroa Alta—CA and P.M.M. Recife de Fora—RF). A total of 229 specimens were collected (224 Demospongiae, 2 Homoscleromorpha and 3 Calcarea). These were classified in 101 morphotypes. Studied materials included representatives of 15 orders, 34 families and 48 genera. The richest orders are Haplosclerida (29 spp.), Poecilosclerida (15 spp.) and Tetractinellida (11 spp.). The richest families were Chalinidae (24 spp.), Clionaidae (7 spp.) and Mycalidae and Suberitidae (6 spp. each). The richest genus is, by far, Haliclona (20 spp.). Only 13 species were shared among all four reefs surveyed,namely Amphimedon viridis, Cinachyrella alloclada, C. apion, Cladocroce caelum, Cliona varians, Dysidea robusta, Mycale (Naviculina)diversisigmata, Niphates erecta, Spirastrella hartmani, Tedania (Tedania) ignis, Terpios fugax, Tethya bitylastra and T. maza. The reefs with the highest richness were CA and CVM, and the lowest richness was observed in RF. The most
similar reefs in terms of species composition were CA and CVM, while AA and RF were more dissimilar to the previous reefs, but also from each other. While the difference among CA, CVM and AA was mainly explained by species turnover, RF differed from the previous based on its lower richness (nestedness component). Even though CA and CVM were the richest reefs, AA presented the highest number of exclusive species, highlighting the uniqueness of this reef, and urging the inclusion of local beachrock fringing reefs in a more holistic conservation strategy at Costa do Descobrimento.
South West Atlantic ( =only warm temperate; cold temperate see *SUB)