Several studies suggest that sponges are major epibionts of mangrove roots at the outer seaside fringing mangroves of Curaçao inner bays (Wagenaar Hummelinck, 1977; van Soest, 1978, van Soest 1980, van Soest 1984; Fransen, 1986), yet these data are non-quantitative. The mangrove associated sponges of Aruba have not yet been investigated. Several localities within bays of Curaçao and Aruba with fringing mangrove forests that were monopolized by the red mangrove R. mangle were investigated on the presence of sponges in April and May 2006 (Figure 1).
There is a greater magnitude of industrial waste loads (oil, grease, nitrogen, phosphorus suspended solids and biodegradable material) in Curaçao compared to Aruba (AUAI and AUAII: Vistalmar jetty and opposite) (Siung-Chang, 1997 and references therein). Within Curaçao there are differences between bays, i.e., St. Jorisbaai (SJI - SJIV) and Santa Cruzbaai (SC) show no signs of pollution, Fuikbaai (FB) and Spaanse Water (SWI - SWIV) are moderately eutrophicated, and Piscaderabaai (PBI and PBII) is highly eutrophicated (Ebbing, 1997).