Date of Award
The phylum Porifera, sponges, has many members and all of them have unique qualities. However, they have a common characteristic that sets them apart from the other members of the animal kingdom: the ability to reaggregate. Sponge cell reaggregation is a process wherein a sponge fragment or the cells of an individual sponge may be separated and then the cells are able to reconnect and pull themselves back together to form a functional new sponge. Many scientists have studied this phenomenon over the course of the last century and have had some interesting findings. For this thesis, I explored a selection of that prior research and then conducted my own sponge cell reaggregation experiments. Other researchers had done three of the experiments previously: for example, the mechanical disaggregation and reaggregation experiment had been done by sever scientists whose results I compared with my own. I also did two experiments of my own involving the staining of the live sponge cells in order to tell the cells of various species apart, while the other required that I design and fabricate my own experimental chambers based on basic Y-chamber design. The barriers in the Y-chambers served as semipermeable membranes, which allowed for testing of directional behaviors if they were present. Throughout the thesis, the anatomy, physiology, behavior, and phylogeny of sponges are reviewed.
Trachtenberg, Sarah, "Will it Blend? An Experimental Exploration into Sponge Cell Reaggregation Behavior" (2013). Senior Theses. 697.