Posted by: reefrescue | May 21, 2015

Barrel Sponge Disease Alert

Divers asked to report observations of diseased sponges to FDEP and NOVA.

We may be seeing the beginning of an outbreak of Barrel Sponge Orange Band (SOB) disease again. The last outbreak began in April 2012 and affected about 20% of the Barrel Sponges from Key West to Martin County.(see: Disease attacking barrel sponges on Palm Beach reefs).


FDEP received a report of a diseased Barrel Sponge (Xesto), observed on 5/14/2015 at Anglin Pier Reef off of Pompano Beach. Please keep an eye out for affected Xestos and report if you see anything. You can submit reports at, or send Karen Bohnsack ( an email directly – just be sure to include the following information:

–          Date

–          Location (lat/long if possible)

–          Water temperature

–          Estimate of the % of sponges affected at that site

Additionally, Joe Lopez ( at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center is interested in analyzing some samples of diseased sponges, so if you observe the SOB and are so inclined, specimens can be collected with a regular fishing license. At least 3 pieces (10-15 gm pieces – about 2 fingers worth) would be appreciated. In particular he’s interested in samples from the white diseased area, boundary area, the healthy dark area, as well as a small piece from a nearby unaffected sponge – please also remember to include the above information with any samples. If you have any questions contact Karen or Joe.


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