Glass sponge reefs (bioherms) are known to occur on glacial deposits but have not previously been observed to develop on fjord bedrock ridges. It is assumed that sexual reproduction dominates reef recruitment and that sedimentation can cover intact sponge skeletons. Over a decade of scuba diving research at a small fjordic bioherm, including installation of bar-coded marker stakes, transplants of loose fragments and survey transects of substrate depth with an avalanche probe have led to new insights into the dynamics of bioherm formation and persistence. We present evidence for recovery of sponge growth from scree slopes of collapsed fragments and logged the temporal changes associated with sponge fragmentation and recovery. Bar-coded stakes were installed in 2014 to enable verification of location and sponge identity through time. Photo documentation of growth, collapse, and regrowth is presented. Research on a sponge garden on glacial sediments reveals that earliest sedimentation may center around prostrate boot sponges and bristly tunicates among the cloud and vase sponges. Although hexactinellid boot sponges do not contribute to the geologic base of bioherms, they may take part as a successional community in the substrate conditioning that could result in the genesis of a glass sponge reef or bioherm.
Part of the book: Invertebrates