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

Welcome to the Sponge Guide Database

The Sponge Guide continues to grow! 

The guide now features over 200 species morphs from throughout the Caribbean.  This photographic guide
includes over 1,700 images of sponges from coral reefs, mangroves, and shallow lagoons.

In addition, we've added a detailed search feature using Google custom search to make finding and identifying sponges even easier.

Sponges are important members of coral reef ecosystems.  They filter water, cycle nutrients, and provide a home to numerous cryptic organisms.

Species of sponges differ in shape, color, texture.  However, even individuals of the same species can differ in their appearance.

Because of their variability, identifying sponges can be a difficult task.  Often, microscopic examination of tissue fibers and skeletal elements, called spicules, is necessary in order to distinguish different species.

Every image presented in this database has been examined and identified using established taxonomic techniques. 

Given the difficulty in distinguishing species, the information presented here should serve as a guide, and not a definitive reference for taxonomic identification.


We hope that you find this tool useful and gain a better appreciation
for the wonderful world of Caribbean sponges!


Data used from the Sponge Guide can be referenced as:
Zea, S., Henkel, T.P., and Pawlik, J.R. 2009.  The Sponge Guide: a picture guide to Caribbean sponges.  Available online at www.spongeguide.org.  Accessed on: 2014-11-27 .


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