scientific article | Proc 8th Inter Coral Reef Symp
Reed JK, Pomponi SA
Nine expeditions were conducted in the Bahamas from 1987 to 1995 for the purpose of collecting marine organisms for biomedical research. Collections concentrated on sponges from various deep water habitats: the fore reef slope and escarpment (30-60 m), the deep fore reef slope and escarpment (60-150 m), and the deep shelf slope (150-922 m). A total of 417 sites were sampled throughout the archipelago using the Johnson-Sea-Link and Clelia research submersibles, ROV, and scuba. For each sample, a taxonomic voucher specimen was prepared, and each was documented with in situ and laboratory photographs and videotapes. Collection site and sample descriptions were transcribed into a database. A total of 3058 sponges were collected from all depth zones: 922-300 m, 19.2%; 300-60 m, 39.6%; and <60 m, 41.2%. Nearly 300 species were enumerated, representing 20 orders, 61 families, and 137 genera. Distributional patterns of the taxa were analyzed with depth and latitude.