Sediment impacts on marine sponges

James Bell, Emily McGrath, Andrew Biggerstaff, Tracey Bates, Holly Bennett, Joseph Marlow, Megan Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in sediment input to marine systems can influence benthic environments in many ways. Sponges are important components of benthic ecosystems world-wide and as sessile suspension feeders are likely to be impacted by changes in sediment levels. Despite this, little is known about how sponges respond to changes in settled and suspended sediment. Here we review the known impacts of sedimentation on sponges and their adaptive capabilities, whilst highlighting gaps in our understanding of sediment impacts on sponges. Although the literature clearly shows that sponges are influenced by sediment in a variety of ways, most studies confer that sponges are able to tolerate, and in some cases thrive, in sedimented environments. Critical gaps exist in our understanding of the physiological responses of sponges to sediment, adaptive mechanisms, tolerance limits, and the particularly the effect of sediment on early life history stages
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Sponge
  • Suspended sediment
  • Settled sediment
  • Turbidity
  • Adaptation


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