UNCW National Science Foundation Valdosta State University Universidad Nacional de Colombia The Sponge Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

How are images in the Sponge Guide arranged?

Every image in the Sponge Guide is grouped by the scientific name and a set of physical characteristics.  The physical characteristics used are:

  • color
  • morphology (shape)
  • consistency (texture or feel)

Note that a single sponge may have multiple colors and a single species can exhibit many different morphologies.

The physical characteristics for both the species and the specific photograph are listed on the corresponding Species information page or Image Attributes page.

How can I search for an image of a sponge?

The search boxes on the right allow you to search by either physical characteristics or by typing in a genus or species name into the text box.

For a more detailed search, click on Search Species at the top menu.  The search box over the species list will search not only the names and characteristics, but also the species notes and author list.  Go ahead and try it!


How did you determine the species name for each sponge that was photographed?

Species names were determined by inspecting the spicules, microscopic skeletal elements that are made of silica, tissue fibers, as well as the physical characterisitcs. 

Every sponge photographed was examined by Dr. Sven Zea of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Taxanomic references were used and are presented for each identified species.

A complete list of references used can be found here.


What other type of information is in the Sponge Guide?

In addition to names and characteristics of sponges, we have also cataloged:

  • location of each sponge
  • habitat where it was found (sea grass/back reef, shallow reef, and deep reef)
  • specific notes on an image or species name

Where were the images taken?

Currently, images in the Sponge Guide are from coral reefs around the Bahamian Islands.  Site names are provided for each image.


Why are there question marks (?) after some names?

While our best attempt has been made to identify each images, the exact scientific classification of some sponges is unclear.  We have noted species names that we are not are not clear with a "?".


Can I use an image in a presentation or lecture?

Yes!  Images are free to use for educational and instructional purposes.  Photo credits are provided on each image, and we ask that you reference them.

Images cannot be used for commercial purposes.  Anyone who would like to use images for commercial uses or in a publication should contact spongeguide@gmail.com


How can I reference the Sponge Guide?

Data from the sponge guide may be useful in your research and you are welcome to use it.  You can reference the Sponge Guide as:

Zea, S., Henkel, T.P., and Pawlik, J.R. 2009.  The Sponge Guide: a picture guide to Caribbean sponges.  Available online at http://www.spongeguide.org.  Accessed on: 2019-08-24.


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