SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Stromatoporoids were a subphylum of the Porifera whose soft parts can be reconstructed by comparisons with the living sclerosponges Merlia and Astrosclera. The living tissue was confined to the upper surface and penetrated only short distances into the coenosteum. Astrorhizae are traces of an excurrent water canal system that interfered with the secretion of the skeleton in some stromatoporoids but was entirely above the hard tissue in others. The stromatoporoid skeleton was composed of trabecular or spherulitic aragonite. Calcitization and dissolution of the aragonite proceeding from the centers of calcification outward account for the microstructures (fibrous, compact, tripartite, ordinicellular, cellular, melanospheric) commonly observed in the calcite skeletons of fossil stromatoporoids. Reconstructions showing the proposed relationship of the soft tissue to the hard tissue of Labechia, Stictostroma, Actinostroma and Stromatopora are presented.