Sponges of the cold
temperate NE Pacific
Bill Austin1, Bruce Ott1, Henry
and Paula Romagosa4
[Feb. 2014 Ed. 6 . Jan. 2015
1. Khoyatan Marine Laboratory;
2. Dept. of Biology, Univ. of Victoria; Natural History
Section ,British Columbia Museum;
Photography, Vancouver, BC; 4. Shaw Ocean Discovery
Khoyatan Marine Laboratory houses a moderately large
collection of NE Pacific Sponges which have been worked
on by Bill Austin and Bruce Ott. A list of 260 species
from central California to southern Alaska is recorded
by Austin (1985). Austin and Ott provided a key to 130
species from British Columbia and Washington (Kozloff,
This annotated list of approximately 290 species is an
update of the 1985 list noted above. Approximately 230
of these species are recorded in BC and adjacent waters. The 142 highlighted
species names include photos of specimens and 90 species
names flagged by SEM have scanning electron micrographs
of skeletal spicules. These can serve as a pictorial
supplement to existing descriptions and keys. The list
includes some undescribed species (unnamed) but is not
intended as a medium for formal species descriptions.
Scanning electron micrographs were taken by Bill Austin
at Simon Fraser University and Henry Reiswig at the University of
Victoria, while underwater photographs were largely
taken by Neil McDaniel (McDaniel Photography, Vancouver,
Click on a
Glossary of spicule types
Glossary of skeleton types and review the
nomenclature for various types of spicules and skeletons found in
sponges occurring in the NE Pacific. For a slide show of
the available colour images of sponges
click here. These
images are ordered alphabetically.
The main check list below includes distribution, and
synonyms, as well as available colour images of each
sponge and images of spicules [SEM]. If images are
available, the name of the sponge will appear as a link
(blue and underlined). This list is ordered
systematically by Order and Class, while families and
genera are ordered alphabetically.
Lee, David Elvin and Henry Reiswig have produced a major
guide to the sponges of California while Bob Stone,
Helmut Lehnert, and Henry Reiswig (2011) have produced a
guide to the deep water sponges in the Aelutians. We hope that,
ultimately, a revised list will incorporate the work of
all spongologists along the NE Pacific coast. Please
note that the list at this time is a draft copy subject
to updates and corrections.
Many people helped in field surveys and collection
including: Myriam Preker (Bamfield Marine Station), Mike
LeBlanc & Ray Anderson (Univ. British Columbia), Jeff
Marliave (Vancouver Public Aquarium), Verena Tunnicliffe
(Univ. Victoria), Kim Conway & J Vaughn Barrie (Pacific
Geoscience Centre), Henry Reiswig (McGill Univ.), Welton
Lee (California Acad. Sciences), Bj°rn Gulliksen (Univ.
Troms°), and Manfred Krautter (Univ. Stuttgart). Jeff
Goddard (Univ. Cal, Santa Barbara, and Jerry Backus
(Univ. Southern California) who provided some updates on
his collections in the Puget Sound region in the 1960s.
Support on scanning electron microscopes was provided by
Mary Lou Malott, Vic Bourne (Simon Fraser Univ.) and
Jack Dietrich (Univ. Victoria)Photos other than those of
the authors were provided by Rick Harbo (Fisheries &
Oceans, Canada), Brent Cooke and Phil Lambert (BC
Provincial Museum), Ron Long (Simon Fraser Univ.) and
Bernard Hanby. Access to Museum material was provided by
Kelly Sendall (BC Provincial Museum), Frank Bernard
(Pacific Biological Station), Ralph Brinkhurst & Doug
Moore (Institute of Ocean Sciences), and Rob Van Syoc
(California Academy of Sciences), Bruce Ott (Natural
Museum of Canada), Sandra Millen (University of British
Columbia), Bill Austin (Simon Fraser University), Gary
Silver (University of Victoria). Production of this list
for our web site and on CDs was performed by Greg Bate
(Live PC), Laura Robson, Jackie Hendrix, Kim Kyba, Eve
Robinson, and John Austin (NuDeal.com).
Austin, W.C. 1985. An annotated checklist of marine
invertebrates in the cold temperate northeast Pacific.
Khoyatan, Cowichan Bay, B.C. 642p. [sponges pp. 21-42]
Boury-Esnault, N. and K. RŘtzler eds. (1997). Thesaurus
of sponge morphology. Smithsonian Contrib. to Zool. 596.
Carlton J. T (ed). 2007. The light and Smith manual:
intertidal invertebrates from Central California to
Oregon. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, 1001p.
Hooper, J. & R.W.M. Van Soest. 2002. Systema Porifera. A
Guide to the Classification of Sponges. Kluwer
Academic/Plenum. New York. 2 vol. 1708, xlviii pp.
Kozloff, E. 1987. Marine invertebrates of the Pacific
Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.
511p. [sponges by Austin and Ott pp. 6-31 plus p. 487 in
1996 paperback edition].
Lamb, A & W.P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific
Northwest. Harbour Publ., Madiera Park, BC. 398p.
[Sponges pp. 60-80].
Lee, W.L, D.W. Elvin, & H. Reiswig. 2007. The Sponges of California. A Guide and Key to the
Marine Sponges of California. Vermont Information
Systems. Shelburne, VT
Morris, R.H., D.P. Abbott, & E.C. Haderlie. 1980.
Intertidal invertebrates of California. Stanford Univ.
Press., Stanford, CA. 690p. [sponges by Bakus & Abbott
Stone, R. P., Lehnert H., Reiswig H. 2011. A guide to
the deep-water sponges of the Aelutian Island
Archipelago. NOAA Professional Paper 12. 187p.
Code to images: blue (sponge name)
= hyperlink to photo(s) of whole animal;
[SEM] = 1+ scanning
electron images of spicules.
Abbreviations: Alask=Alaska, Aleut=Aleutians,
Aleut=Aleutians, Arc=Arctic, Atl=Atlantic BC=British
Columbia, BerS=Bering Sea, Cosmo=Cosmopolitan, Ind=Indian
Ocean, N,C,S Cal=North, Central, Southern California,
Oreg=Oregon, Pac=Pacific Ocean, Wash=Washington
Littoral=Intertidal, Shallow= less than 200 m deep,
Deep=more than 200 m deep;
*xxx * denotes a locality for new records.
aff = close to; cf = compare with
Orders are arranged by convention while families are
listed alphabetically under each order, and genera are
listed alphabetically under each family.