Composition, distribution and substrates of the sponge fauna (Porifera: Demospongiae) at the National Park of Anavilhanas
Freshwater sponges, being sessile animals, heavily depend upon a substrate on which their larvae or their gemmules will settle. It is expected different sponge species to exhibit preferences or adaptations to specific substrates and habitats. Studies targeted to evaluate the role substrates play in the distribution of freshwater sponge communities are rare. Here we evaluate the effect of different substrates and habitats in the distribution of freshwater sponge communities in the igapós of Anavilhanas, the world largest freshwater archipelago. Two surveys aiming to uncover the sponge fauna and corresponding substrates were performed in the Anavilhanas National Park at the low water period, when seasonally flooded surfaces are exposed. Two transects were carried out by boat along the margins of the River Negro and its canals among the islands or inside parts of the yet inundated forest. Also several higher parts of the islands at the time free of the flooding waters were crossed by foot. The sponge crusts were first visually searched for and next sampled, having its GPS taken and its environments and substrates shortly described. The association between the presence of nine sponge species, seven different environments and seven types of substrates detected were used in a Redundancy Analysis (RDA). The first two axes of RDA accounted for 45.9% of variation in the species data. The overall RDA was significant (P = 0.005; Number of permutations = 199). Substrates, especially trunks, branches, leaves and sand, were more important than environments to explain the variability in the distribution of sponge species.
Key words: Continental sponges, substrates, shaded habitats, flooding pulses, Brazilian Amazonia.
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