FWC reports barrel sponges dying in the Fla. Keys. Disintegrating sponges found on Tennessee and Sombrero Reefs.
While the barrel sponge die-off has been referred to as a disease, researchers have not been able to ID a pathogen. At this point it seems more accurate to refer to this mortality event as a syndrome.
The occurrence and distribution of the die-off; Keys to Palm Beach County suggests an upcurrent source. While there is no evidence and it is pure speculation that a causative agent may originate from the Gulf of Mexico, nothing should be ruled out at this point.