ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Phylum Porifera: Sea Sponge Characteristics, Reproducution and More!

Updated on November 12, 2011

Phylum Porifera - Sea Sponge

Flickr photo by Icelight
Flickr photo by Icelight
Flickr photo by divemasterking2000
Flickr photo by divemasterking2000
Flickr photo by divemasterking2000
Flickr photo by divemasterking2000

Phylum Porifera

The phylum (phylum is a classification of animals below kingdom and above class) Porifera is an amazing and diverse set of species. There are 5,000 different species in the phylum Porifera and they are commonly known as the sponge or sea sponge. There are 900 fresh water sponges and the rest are salt water.

One of the main characteristics about sponges is that they are all filter feeders. Even very small sponges (those that are only 10 cm long) are able to filter over 100 liters of water each day. They are able to receive nutrients from the water that they filter through their pores.

Sponges have body structures optimized for filter feeding. Their body structure is fairly simple in comparison to other more complex creatures, but their structure is perfect for filter feeding.

Sponge Body Structure

A sponge has three main layers to their body structure. The outer layer is a layer of flattened epidermal cells; the second is a semi-fluid matrix and the inner layer is a layer of flagellated collar cells. One other important part of the body structure of the sponge is the osculum, which is the opening at the top of the sponge.

Lets look at these three layers in laymen’s terms:

Flattened Epidermal Cells

This layer is the protective layer of the sponge. It is the stiff outer layer that protects the inner layers from injury. This layer has very many small holes all about its body called pores. These pores allow water to flow into the rest of the sponge.

Flagellated Collar Cells

The layer of Flagellated Collar Cells is the most interesting of the three layers of sponges. This collar layer is flagellated, which means that they have flagellum. Flagellums are a specialized part of certain cells. They are a tail like piece that sticks out of the cell and usually assists in locomotion of the cell.

In a sponges collar layer, a Flagellum works a bit differently. Instead of moving the cell, they act in locomotion, but they are moving the water surrounding the cells instead of the cells themselves. These small parts of the cell are constantly whipping their tails in a circular motion, which causes a current of water to flow into the cup like portion of the sponge.

The water seeps through the pores and as it flows through the three layers, it takes in nutrients.

Flickr photo by Ethan Hein
Flickr photo by Ethan Hein

Sponge Reproduction

Sponges reproduce extremely effectively: They are able to reproduce sexually and asexually.

Sexual Reproduction

Sponges are able to reproduce sexually. This form of reproduction is most comparable to plants. A male flower forms sperm (pollen) which then floats through the air and attaches to a female plant or flower and fertilizes the egg.

Sponges are hermadrophidic, which means that they have both male and female reproductive organs, but they rarely fertilize themselves. A sponge produces sperm, which then is taken up with the current of water that is being filtered and is spit out of the osculum of the sponge. This sperm then follows the current of the water until it is filtered into another sponge. When this happens, it attaches to the female reproductive organ of the sponge and fertilizes the sponge.

Asexual Reproduction

There are three different forms of asexual reproduction and each of them are very amazing. These three forms of reproduction are Budding, Gemmule Formation and Regeneration. Budding means that a sponge is able to form a set of cells that are on the external portion of the body. This set of cells eventually form into a complete sponge that is independent of the sponges that it is connected to. Then this new creature breaks off of the original sponge and becomes an independent and separate creature.

Gemmule Formation is technically budding, but it is very different than the common budding. A gemmule is a bud that is within the sponge. It has a protective layer around it and is able to survive through very harsh/unfavorable conditions. Even if they are conditions that kill the sponge that the gemmule is within, the gemmule will survive and will be able to form into a complete sponge.

Regeneration is an almost scary form of reproduction. I have seen this form of reproduction on many sci-fi movies, but I never knew that it was a true form of reproduction. If a sponge is broken into many different pieces, it is able to turn into a new sponge. If you take a sponge and separate it into two broken pieces, it is able to become two complete sponges. Not only this, but one single cell from the original sponge is able to form into an entirely new sponge!

3 Sponge Categories

There are three main categories of sponge body structures. These three are Asconoid, Syconoid and Leuconoid. The Asconoid is the common form of sponge this form of sponge has the three layers that were described above and it has only one osculum. Scyonoid’s are similar to the Asconoid sponge, but they are larger and their flagellated collar cells are within the pores (they line the holes that go through the body of the sponge). The Leuconoid sponge is larger than the other two forms and has many chambers within the sponge. Each of these chambers has collar cells lining them. These many chambers then filter out to one osculum.


To look at the Phylum Cnidaria (which includes corals, jellyfish, sea anemones and more) follow this link:

Phylum Cnidaria by apStumbo

Sea Sponges in Commerce

We may not think of sea sponges as something that we would find in many stores we walk into, but the truth is that sea sponges are quite common. One of the most common uses of the sea sponge is to make natural loofahs or natural sponges.

If this has piqued your interest at all, I have provided a couple of links to different products made of this wonderful phylum.

In writing this article I referred to these sources:

University of California Museum of Paleontology

Inquiry into Life by Sylvia Mader

Britannica

Scienceproject.com

Animaldiversity.mmz.umich.edu

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Katy 

      3 years ago

      This is awesome! Last week I spent 45 munties filling up 2 buckets of water ballons. The kids had them all popped in under 5! I'm so doing this next time =) Thanks.

    • profile image

      carlos and a random guy 

      4 years ago

      This was a very helpful page and it really helped me do my homework danks

    • profile image

      random dude 

      4 years ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      maya 

      5 years ago

      cool

    • profile image

      hanna_naezza_zarieh-01-10-11 

      5 years ago

      gosh ! its so cute !.. :D it feels good when u r looking on it !..

    • profile image

      joesan 

      6 years ago

      its amizing

    • profile image

      MrWaves 

      6 years ago

      I love it :D

    • profile image

      emma 

      7 years ago

      I like this page.

    • profile image

      fradejuiah hepburn 

      7 years ago

      i love dis

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)