Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences


Sponges (Porifera) are among the most diverse and important components of sessile benthic communities. Sponge communities have a global range of distribution occupying a diverse array of aquatic habitats. They also play a range of ecological roles thus contributing to ecosystem functioning. Although the scientific evidence strongly supports the significance and widespread nature of these functional roles, sponges remain underappreciated in marine systems. This is the first study that identifies the sponge assemblage and investigates in detail the patterns of distribution and abundance of sponge taxa on rocky reef habitats of southeastern Australia. It is also one of the few studies worldwide to uncover some of the processes responsible for influencing these patterns, such as smothering by sediment and spongivory



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.