Influence of depth on the size of sponge spicules
Giorgio Bavestrello, Michela Bonito, Michele Sarà

This study confirms the findings of other laboratory experiments and field observations indicating that spicule size in two species of Demospongiae, Petrosia ficiformis and Cliona azzaroliae, increases with depth over their broad bathymetric range. Water temperature therefore appears to have an effect on spicule size in both cases. The megasclerae of C. azzaroliae (both its tylostyles and oxeas) do not behave uniformly, however, as the oxeas are more variable than the tylostyles. These environmentally induced variations in spicule size are examined in the framework of developmental modulation, a theory postulating that environmental factors may modulate the same genetic developmental program in continua.

Keywords: Spicular variability, depth, phenotypic plasticity, Demospongiae.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 57(4) : 415-420 Back PDF
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