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Sponges in an extreme environment: suberitids from the quasi-marine Satonda Island crater lake (Sumbawa, Indonesia)

  • Andrzej Pisera (a1), Klaus Rützler (a2), Józef Kaz'mierczak (a1) and Stephan Kempe (a3)

Sponges are rare in extreme environments, and very little is known about their adaptations to such settings. Evidence from two species in a marine-derived midwater stratified crater lake on Satonda Island (Sumbawa, Indonesia) suggests their production of gemmules (resting bodies), a rare trait in marine sponges but common in freshwater forms, may be a survival mechanism in the lake's harsh environment. With its epilimnion hydrochemistry—characterized by changing alkalinity, salinity, and O2 levels over the region's wet and dry seasons—the lake sustains only a few marine macroscopic organisms, among them the suberitid sponges Protosuberites lacustris comb. nov. and Suberites sp. (Hadromerida: Suberitida). Both species belong to the same group as sponges reported from other marine-derived lakes with strongly varying and extreme environmental (especially chemical) parameters. The morphological characters, taxonomic position, ecological adaptations, environmental conditions, and biota associated with the sponges in this ecologically unique site are presented here.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Pisera, Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, PL-00818, Warszawa, Poland email:
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S. Kempe and J. Kaz'mierczak (1990a) Calcium carbonate supersaturation and the formation of in situ calcified stromatolites. In V.A. Ittekkott , S. Kempe , W. Michaelis and A. Spitzy (eds) Facets of modern biogeochemistry. Berlin: Springer Verlag, pp. 255278.

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R.W.M. van Soest (2002). Family Suberitidae Schmidt, 1870. In J.N.A. Hooper and R.W.M. van Soest (eds) Systema Porifera: a guide to the classification of sponges. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, pp. 227244.

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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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