Regeneration and Regrowth of Mycale sp., Halochondira panicea and Phakellia sp. Sponges in the Pacific Northwest
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Sponges (phylum Porifera) fall short of being considered true animals, Eumetazoas, because of their unique tissue organization. This organization is questionability multicellular because of their cell-to-cell nutrient transfer and lack of epithelialization. Sponge cells have, however, been shown to have cell to cell communication and recognition within an individual. To assess the degree of a sponge’s ability to act as a coherent metazoan organism by recognizing and repairing damage to a specific area, three morphologically different demosponge sponges of the species Halochondria panicea, Phakellia sp. and Mycale sp. were wounded and monitored. Both growth and regeneration were evaluated by observing surface area of growth per unit time with regards to overall percent area change and oscula formation respectively in the field over an 18-day period by time series photographs and analyzed with ImageJ software. The individuals of the Phakellia sp. could not display results due to environmental disturbance. The intertidal encrusting sponges, Mycale sp., Halochondria panicea, both showed signs of overall growth in the wounded region without a statistical difference between the two species (P=0.877). The new outside growth rate of the entire sponge opposed to healing growth rate of the wounded region in both sponge species also proved to be statistically insignificant (Halochondria panacea P=0.114 and Mycale sp. P=0.343). Regeneration by oscula formation was observed in both encrusting species after day two for Mycale sp. and by day 10 in Halochondria panicea. These results further show that growth and regeneration in a specific wounded region may be an adaptation to remain a specific shape for the entire sponge individual as well as to maintain survival in a competitive environment such as the intertidal.