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Fossil psammobiontic sponges and their foraminiferal residents, Central Apennines, Italy

Markus Reuter, Werner E. Piller and Marco Brandano
Fossil psammobiontic sponges and their foraminiferal residents, Central Apennines, Italy
Palaios (September 2013) 28 (9): 614-622


Sponges generally live firmly attached on firm- and hardgrounds but a few species are known to colonize mobile sediments in shallow water. These psammobiontic sponges are anchored to the bottom by incorporating sediment particles at their base. Herein we relate so-far enigmatic bowl-shaped structures from seagrass deposits of the lower Miocene (Burdigalian) Calcari a Briozoi e Litotamni Formation on the Latium-Abbruzzi carbonate platform (Central Apennines, Italy) to the in-ground parts of psammobiontic sponges. The sponge fossils yield a peculiar foraminiferal assemblage with an increased abundance of Bulimina and Bolivina compared to the surrounding sediments as well as with planktic foraminifers and spirillinids (Spirillina, Patellina), which are not recorded outside the sponges. Drifting planktic foraminifers became trapped on the sponge surface exposed to the water column before agglutination. In contrast, high quantities of Bulimina, Bolivina, and spirillinids indicate commensalistic relationships with the sponges. Generally, ecological interactions between foraminifers and living sponges are poorly documented. In the present case the infaunal Bulimina and Bolivina have been attracted by a low-oxygen and nutrient-rich environment, which developed in the progressively decaying buried part of the sponges along with early lithification, while the epifaunal spirillinids populated the internal network of water channels, which provided protection and food supply. The high abundance of generally rare Spirillina in Late Jurassic sponge reefs indicates a persistent ecological preference of spirillinids to sponge microhabitats.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 28
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Fossil psammobiontic sponges and their foraminiferal residents, Central Apennines, Italy
Affiliation: Karl-Franzens-Universitaet Graz, Institut fuer Erdwissenschaften, Graz, Austria
Pages: 614-622
Published: 201309
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 48
Accession Number: 2014-012997
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N41°25'00" - N41°25'00", E13°58'00" - E13°58'00"
Secondary Affiliation: La Sapienza Universita di Roma, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201409
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