|Disease prevalence and population density over time in three common Caribbean coral reef sponge species|Wulff, J.L. (2007). Disease prevalence and population density over time in three common Caribbean coral reef sponge species. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. Spec. Issue 87(6): 1715-1720. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002531540705881X
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Reports of disease in sponges are increasing, but the paucity of data on disease prevalence over time makes it uncertain how much this trend reflects increased attention to sponges rather than increased sponge disease. Population and community influences on disease dynamics, and the consequences of disease at these levels, are also little known. Five censuses, over 14 y, of a small plot on a shallow coral reef at San Blas, Panama, provide data for the three most abundant species on population dynamics (number of individuals and total volume) and disease prevalence (number of individuals with active lesions). Although data for the three species, combined in broad categories (i.e. high vs low), support a general conclusion that disease prevalence was greater from 1994-1998 than from 1984-1988, the data do not demonstrate a steady increase over time, and disease prevalence for two of the species decreased in each of the final two censuses from a high in 1994. Fluctuations in population density (total volume) and disease prevalence were nearly synchronous within individual species, but asynchronous among the three species, suggesting that population density, measured as total sponge volume per unit area, may influence disease dynamics in these sponges.