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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 615:79-100 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12939

Effect of suspended sediments on the pumping rates of three species of glass sponge in situ

N. Grant1, E. Matveev1,5, A. S. Kahn1,6, S. K. Archer2, A. Dunham2, R. J. Bannister3, D. Eerkes-Medrano4, S. P. Leys1,*

1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada
2Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9T 6N7, Canada
3Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen 5005, Norway
4Marine Scotland Science, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK
5Present address: Department of Ocean Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St, John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 5S7, Canada
6Present address: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The largest known glass sponge reefs in Canada are within the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs Marine Protected Area (HSQCS-MPA) in British Columbia. However, human activities outside the core MPA boundaries, such as trawling, can create plumes of suspended sediments capable of travelling large distances. We studied the response of 3 glass sponge species to changes in suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) at 170 m depth inside the HSQCS-MPA. Two species reduced excurrent flow rate in response to natural and experimentally induced increases in suspended sediment. Background suspended sediment levels were low and showed little variation (2.71 ± 0.09 mg l-1, mean ± SD). Species varied in the threshold of SSCs that triggered arrests. Sediment concentrations of 2.8-6.4 mg l-1 caused arrests in Rhabdocalyptus dawsoni, while Heterochone calyx did not arrest until concentrations reached 5-10 mg l-1. Very small, but prolonged increases of suspended sediments (<1 mg l-1 for R. dawsoni and 3.2 mg l-1 for H. calyx) caused arrests of several hours in R. dawsoni and prolonged periods of reduced flow in H. calyx. No arrests were observed in Farrea occa, even after repeated exposures up to 57 mg l-1. A sediment transport model showed that sediment concentrations can remain high enough to affect sponge behaviour as far as 2.39 km from the source of the plume. The results highlight the importance of understanding the biology of different species for establishment of adequate boundaries in MPAs.


KEY WORDS: Glass sponges · Reefs · Pumping Rate · Suspended sediments · Porifera · Trawling · Marine protected areas


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Cite this article as: Grant N, Matveev E, Kahn AS, Archer SK and others (2019) Effect of suspended sediments on the pumping rates of three species of glass sponge in situ. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 615:79-100. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12939

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