In the MarEco Lab, we seek to examine the biotic and abiotic interactions that structure marine communities.
Interspecific interactions can regulate populations and communities, through competition, predation, as well as facilitative interactions such as commensalism and mutualism.
On Caribbean coral reefs, sponges are a predominant member of the benthic fauna, providing numerous ecosystem services from filtering water to habitat for other organisms. Previous work has examined the use of sponges by brittlestars in the Florida Keys.
Some of the findings from this research are spotlighted here, including the species-specific association of a sponge-dwelling brittlestar, Ophiothrix lineata, and the tube sponge Callyspongia vaginalis.