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An evaluation of sponge-associated amphipods from the Antarctic Peninsula

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2009

Margaret O. Amsler*
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA
James B. Mcclintock
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA
Charles D. Amsler
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA
Robert A. Angus
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA
Bill J. Baker
Department of Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA


Nearshore marine benthic algal communities along the western Antarctic Peninsula harbour extremely high densities of amphipods that probably play important roles in nutrient and energy flow. This study extends our evaluation of the importance of amphipods in the nearshore Antarctic Peninsular benthic communities and focuses on sponge associations. We found a mean density of 542 amphipods per litre (L) sponge for twelve species of ecologically dominant sponges. The highest mean density (1295 amphipods per L sponge) occurred with Dendrilla membranosa Pallas. The amphipod community associated with the 12 sponges was diverse (38 species), with mean species richness values ranging from two to eight species. Mean Shannon diversity indices (H’) ranged from 0.52 to 1.49. Amphipods did not appear to have obligate host relationships. Qualitative gut content analyses indicated that 12 of the 38 amphipod species were found with sponge spicules in their guts. However, only one of the amphipods, Echiniphimedia hodgsoni Walker, had considerable amounts of spicules in the gut. Organic lipophilic and hydrophilic extracts of the twelve sponges were presented in alginate food disks to a sympatric omnivorous amphipod in feeding bioassays and extracts of only two sponges deterred feeding.

Biological Sciences
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

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