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Domain:Eukaryota Kingdom:Animalia Phylum:Porifera Reporters: Alconera, Peter Paul Babala, Arjaylyn B. I. Introduction to Porifera Porifera are commonly referred to as sponges. Most sponges are found in oceans, although some groups are found in fresh waters such as lakes. They were the first group of animals that has specialized cells to do special jobs. However, the cells are not so advanced as to form tissues. Sponges live singly or in colonies. Based on their phylogenetic position, fossil sponges are among the oldest known animal fossils, dating from the Late Precambrian Poriferans don't have mouths; instead, they have tiny pores in their outer walls through which water is drawn. Distinguishing Features: Sponges constitute the phylum Porifera, and have been defined as sessile metazoans (multicelled animals) that have water intake and outlet openings connected by chambers lined with choanocytes, cells with whip-like flagella. All known living sponges can remold their bodies, as most types of their cells can move within their bodies and a few can change from one type to another Sponges' bodies consist of a non-living jelly-like mass sandwiched between two main layers of cells They have no nervous sytems II. Vital Functions and Ecology Vital Functions Movements Adults are sessile while larvae are free swimming. Respiration A sponge takes in water through its pores and in more advanced forms, with canals that move the water to all throughout the sponge. Then the oxygen from the water is used. Reproduction A sponge reproduces by assexually and also sexually. Life Cycle Sponges in temperate regions live for at most a few years, but some tropical species and perhaps some deep-ocean ones may live for 200 years or more. Some calcified demosponges grow by only 0.2 millimetres (0.0079 in) per year and, if that rate is constant, specimens 1 metre (3.3 ft) wide must be about 5,000 years old. Some sponges start sexual reproduction when only a few weeks old, while others wait until they are several years old. Ecology Habitats Sponges in temperate regions live for at most a few years, but some tropical species and perhaps some deep-ocean ones may live for 200 years or more. Some calcified demosponges grow by only 0.2 millimetres (0.0079 in) per year and, if that rate is constant, specimens 1 metre (3.3 ft) wide must be about 5,000 years old. Some sponges start sexual reproduction when only a few weeks old, while others wait until they are several years old. As Primary Producers Sponges with photosynthesizing endosymbionts produce up to three times more oxygen than they consume, as well as more organic matter than they consume. Such contributions to their habits' resources are significant along Australia 's Great Barrier Reef but relatively minor in the Caribbean. Defenses Many sponges shed spicules, forming a dense carpet several meters deep that keeps awayechinoderms which would otherwise prey on the sponges.They also produce toxins that prevent other sessile organisms such as bryozoans or sea squirts from growing on or near them, making sponges very effective competitors for living space. Predation Sponge flies, also known as spongilla-flies (Neuroptera, Sisyridae), are specialist predators of freshwater sponges Bioerosion The Caribbean chicken-liver sponge Chondrilla nucula secretes toxins that kill coral polyps, allowing the sponges to grow over the coral skeletons Diseases Caribbean sponges of the genus Aplysina suffer from Aplysina red band syndrome Collaborations with other organisms The relatively large encrusting sponge Lissodendoryx colombiensis is most common on rocky surfaces, but has extended its range into seagrass meadows by letting itself be surrounded or overgrown by seagrass sponges, which are distasteful to the local starfish and therefore protectLissodendoryx against them; in return the seagrass sponges get higher positions away from the sea-floor sediment.Shrimps of the genus Synalpheus form colonies in sponges, and each shrimp species inhabits a different sponge species, makingSynalpheus one of the most diverse crustacean genera. III. Taxonomy Classes of Porifera: Hexactinellida (glass sponges), the Demospongia, and the Calcarea (calcareous sponges). Archeocyatha IV. Uses By Dolphins As a tool by bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay By Humans Early Europeans used soft sponges for many purposes, including padding for helmets, portable drinking utensils and municipal water filters. Until the invention of synthetic sponges, they were used as cleaning tools, applicators for paints and ceramic glazes and discreet contraceptives. Antibiotic compounds Sponges have medicinal potential due to the presence in sponges themselves or their microbial symbionts of chemicals that may be used to control viruses, bacteria, tumors and fungi. V. Evolutionary History As the basal branch of the metazoans, poriferans have long been expected to be among the earliest undoubted animal fossils, those of the Vendian (or Ediacaran). Until recently, however, no sponge body fossils had been identified or described from this fauna. In 1996, Gehling and Rigby identified and described the first probable sponge, Paleophragmodictya, from the Ediacara of Australia. Their specimens revealed a reticulating net of spicules in the sponge body wall, reminiscent of that seen in many hexactinellid sponges. Fossil sponges differ in size from 1 cm (0.4 inches) to more than 1 meter (3.3 feet). They vary greatly in shape, being commonly vase-shapes (such as Ventriculites), spherical (such as Porosphaera), saucer-shaped (such as Astraeospongia), pear-shaped (such as Siphonia), leaf-shaped (such as Elasmostoma), branching (such as Doryderma), irregular or encrusting. Devonian stromatoporoid at Falls of the Ohio Tropical tube and encrusting sponges, Saba. Fossil sponge from the Cretaceous of England E-Sources http://www.mcwdn.org/Animals/Sponges.html http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/porifera/poriferal h.html http://library.thinkquest.org/26502/level2/Proces s/respir.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sponge#Distinguishi ng_features Thank You.. Geology is more than a degree..Its a Lifestyle.