Contributions to Zoology, 77 (4) - 2008Ellard R. Hunting; Rob W.M. van Soest; Harm G. van der Geest; Anne Vos; Adolphe O. Debrot: Diversity and spatial heterogeneity of mangrove associated sponges of Curaçao and Aruba
Material and methods

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Study site

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).


Fig. 1. Map of the Caribbean, Curaçao, Aruba and the inner bays. Localities are indicated with open circles and roman numerals, and mangrove fringes of Curaçao bays are shaded. Maps of bays and corresponding abbreviations: a) Aruba (AUA I-II); b) Boca st. Cruz (SC); c) Piscadera baai (PB I-II); d) Jan Thielbaai (JT); e) Spaanse Water (SW I-IV); f) Fuikbaai (FB) and g) st. Jorisbaai (SJ I-IV). Maps of bays taken from reports by I. Nagelkerken and E. Kardinaal.

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).