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Keywords:

  • Bioerosion;
  • biomass;
  • excavating sponges;
  • component analysis;
  • spicules

Abstract

This study applied the loss after combustion (LAC) method and the acid decalcification (ADC) method to quantify different components of an excavating sponge. Samples of dried coral skeleton of Favia sp. invaded by the Indo-Pacific excavating sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900 were used. The sponge tissue penetrated the 12-mm-thick samples to approximately 10 mm. The average proportional weight of organic matter, siliceous spicules, calcareous substrate and salts in the entire samples was found to be respectively 2.5%, 4.4%, 90.5% and 2.5% of dry weight applying the LAC method, and 2.9%, 5.9%, 89.0% and 2.3% of dry weight applying the ADC method. Respective volumetric proportions of the organic matter, spicules, substrate and salts were then calculated to be 6.4%, 5.5%, 85.2% and 3.0% of volume with the LAC method, and 7.4%, 7.2%, 82.7% and 2.7% of volume with the ADC method. The LAC method showed low variability of data and is simple and fast and therefore is recommended. The ADC method generated very similar results to the LAC method. However, due to the handling involved in the ADC method, more than half of the spicules may be lost and the method is therefore not recommended unless careful data corrections are considered. In addition, the buoyant weight method was used to quantify actual substrate weight in the fresh sponge-substrate samples. This method was found to be at least 97% effective, revealing that buoyant weights can potentially be used to quantify bioerosion rates of excavating sponges. To our knowledge, this is the first study to systemically quantify organic and inorganic components of an excavating sponge and its calcareous substrate, providing improved standard methods for future studies.