Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

11th International Coral Reef Symposium

Presentation Date


Document Type



Barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, Recovery, Reattachment, Restoration


Giant barrel sponges, Xestospongia muta, are abundant and important components of the southeast Florida reef system, and are frequently injured from anthropogenic and natural disturbances. There is limited information on the capacity of X. muta to recover from injury and on methods to reattach X. muta fragments. In late 2002, hundreds of barrel sponges offshore southeast Florida (Broward County) were accidentally injured during an authorized dredging operation. In early 2003, two to three months post-injury, 93% of 656 assessed injured sponges appeared to be recovering. In 2006, three years post-injury, nearly 90% of 114 monitored sponges continued to show signs of recovery. Growth rates were estimated by measuring sponge height above visual injury scars and ranged from 0.7 cm yr- ¹ to 6.0 cm yr- ¹. Information on the artificially reattached fragments is limited but did show that X. muta fragments can reattach. This study provides evidence that X. muta in southeast Florida can naturally recover. Details on sponge size class associated recovery processes and growth were not collected due to event associated legal issues limiting the study. Studies to determine detailed growth rates and recovery success for different injury and restoration scenarios will further facilitate restoration decision making by resource managers.


This publication and all full-text proceedings from the 11th ICRS can be found at