Reef and Fishery Assessment of Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge

On April 23, 2009 scientists from the NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami Florida (SEFSC) departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their destination: the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with the NOAA scientists are researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM/RSMAS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), an NGO based in Haiti.
This work is funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spectacular sponges spawn sperm

This morning at northwest point we observed a group of Giant Barrel Sponges, Xestospongia muta, releasing sperm. The spawning occurred in all individuals in the area at depths of 10 to 15 meters and occurred from 9.30 to 10.30 in the morning, but we observed only males. These sponges are common on Caribbean coral reefs and can reach sizes of up to 6 feet. However, little is known about reproduction in the species. In 2004, Williams et al sighted a spawning event in Belize, which took place on March 30th in the early morning hours. In previous years, the Leathery Barrel Sponge, Geodia neptuni, has also been observed spawning at Navassa during the fall season.

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