The Sponge Guide
Sponges are important members of coral reef ecosystems. They filter water, cycle nutrients, and provide a home to numerous cryptic organisms. Species of sponges differ in shape, color, texture. However, even individuals of the same species can differ in their appearance.
The guide now features over 200 species morphs from throughout the Caribbean. This photographic guide includes over 1,700 images of sponges from coral reefs, mangroves, and shallow lagoons.
Because of their variability, identifying sponges can be a difficult task. Often, microscopic examination of tissue fibers and skeletal elements, called spicules, is necessary in order to distinguish different species. Every image presented in this database has been examined and identified using established taxonomic techniques. Given the difficulty in distinguishing species, the information presented here should serve as a guide, and not a definitive reference for taxonomic identification.