Biological Science Faculty Member
Dr. Janie L. Wulff
Ph.D., Yale University, 1986
Graduate Faculty Status
Research and Professional Interests:
Sponges are different from all other animals in the extreme simplicity and homogeneity of their construction. They are also one of the most diverse, abundant, and colorful groups in a variety of hard substratum marine systems, and many of their functional roles in these systems are not duplicated by members of other groups. I study the ecology of sponges and the organisms with which they interact as mutualistic partners, competitors, and prey, especially in coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. I have been focusing on several conceptual issues that are especially intriguing for sponges: a) ecology and evolution of mutualisms; b) biogeographic and habitat patterns of diversity and abundance, and how these are influenced by interactions and life histories; and c) effects of physical disturbance and pathogens on population and community dynamics, focusing especially on the importance of different growth forms and life histories. My primary approaches to research are experimental manipulations in the field, combined with biogeographic comparisons; and most of my field work is in Belize, Panama, the Florida Keys, and Hawaii.
Wulff, J. 2021. Targeted predator defenses of sponges shape community organization and tropical marine ecosystem function. Ecological Monographs 0(0), 2021, e01438.
Edmunds, P.J., Coblentz, M., Wulff, J. 2020. A quarter-century of variation in sponges abundance and community structure on shallow reefs in St. John, Islands. Marine Biology 167:135.https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-020-03740-8.
Bedgood, S.A., Bracken, M.E.S., Ryan, W.H., Level, S.T., Wulff, J.L. 2020. Nutritional drivers of adult locomotion and asexual reproduction in a symbiont-hosting sea anemone, Exaiptasia diaphana. Marine Biology 167:39. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-020-03649-3.
Wulff, J. 2017. Bottom-up and top-down controls on coral reef sponges: disentangling within-habitat and between-habitat processes. Ecology 98:1130-1139. PDF
Burgess, S.C., Ryan, W.H., Blackstone, N.W., Edmunds, P.J., Hoogenboom, M.O., Levitan, D.R., Wulff, J.L. 2017. Metabolic scaling in modular animals. Invertebrate Biology 136:456-472.
Wulff, J. 2016. Sponge contributions to the geology and biology of reefs: Past, present, and future. In: D.K. Hubbard, ed. Coral Reefs at the Crossroads. Springer. PDF
Wulff, J. 2013. Recovery of sponges after extreme mortality events: Morphological and taxonomic patterns in regeneration vs. recruitment. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53:512-523. PDF
Wulff, J. 2012. Ecological interactions and the distribution, abundance, and diversity of sponges. Pages 273-344 in M. A. Becerro, ed. Advances in Sponge Science: Phylogeny, Systematics, Ecology. Advances in Marine Biology 61. Academic, Oxford. PDF
Wulff, J. 2011. Functional importance of biodiversity for coral reefs of Belize. Pages 52-56 in Palomares and Pauly, eds. Too Precious to Drill: The Marine Biodiversity of Belize. Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. PDF
Wulff, J. 2011. Sponges. In: D. Hopley, ed. Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs: Structure, Form and Process. Springer, Dordrecht, New York.
Wulff, J. 2010. Regeneration of sponges in ecological context: is regeneration an integral part of life history and morphological strategies? Integrative and Comparative Biology 50:494-505. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2009. Sponge community dynamics on Caribbean mangrove roots: significance of species idiosyncrasies. Pages 501-514 in Lang, M. A., I. G. Macintyre, and K. Rützler, eds. Proceedings of the Smithsonian Marine Science Symposium. Smithsonian Contributions to Marine Science 38. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2008. Collaboration among sponge species increases sponge diversity and abundance in a seagrass meadow. Marine Ecology: An Evolutionary Perspective 29:193-204. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2008. Life-history differences among coral reef sponges promote mutualism or exploitation of mutualism by influencing partner fidelity feedback. American Naturalist 171:597-609. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2007. Disease prevalence and population density in three common Caribbean coral reef sponge species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the U.K. 87:715-720. PDF
Wulff, J.L. 2007. Mangrove sponge havens of Belize. JMBA Global Marine Environment 6:4-5. PDF
Swain, T. D., and J. L. Wulff. 2007. Diversity and specificity of Caribbean spongezoanthid symbioses: a foundation for understanding the adaptive significance of symbioses and generating hypothesesabout higher-order systematics. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 92:695-711. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2006. Sponge systematics by starfish: predators distinguish cryptic sympatric species of Caribbean fire sponges, Tedania ignis and Tedania klausi n. sp. (Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida). Biological Bulletin 211:83-94. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2006. A simple model of growth form-dependent recovery from disease in coral reef sponges, and implications for monitoring. Coral Reefs 25:419-426. PDF
Lang, J. L., J. L. Wulff, C. R. Fretwell, and K. A. Roberson. 2006. Coral reef conservation through outreach education. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Okinawa, pp. 1699-1702. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2006. Resistance vs. recovery: morphological strategies of coral reef sponges. Functional Ecology 20:699-708. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2006. Ecological interactions of marine sponges. Canadian Journal of Zoology Special Series 84:146-166. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2006. Rapid diversity and abundance decline in a Caribbean coral reef sponge community. Biological Conservation 127:167-176. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2005. Trade-offs in resistance to competitors and predators, and their effects on the diversity of tropical marine sponges. Journal of Animal Ecology 74:313-321. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2004. Sponges on mangrove roots, Twin Cays, Belize: early stages of community assembly. Atoll Research Bulletin 519:1-10. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2003. Biology of Coral Reefs: A Lecture Manual. Hayden McNeil, Plymouth, Michigan.
Wulff, J. L. 2002. Functional roles of sponges on coral reefs. Pages 38-40 in B. A. Best, R. S. Pomeroy, C. M. Balboa, eds. Implications for Coral Reef Management and Policy: Relevant Findings from the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium. USAID, Washington, D.C. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2001. Assessing and monitoring coral reef sponges: Why and how? Bulletin of Marine Science 69:831-846. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 2000. Sponge predators may determine differences in sponge fauna between two sets of mangrove cays, Belize Barrier Reef. Atoll Research Bulletin 477:251-263. PDF
Rützler, K., M. C. Diaz, R. W. M. van Soest, K. P. Smith, B. Alvarez, S. Zea, and J. L. Wulff. 2000. Diversity of sponge fauna in mangrove ponds, Pelican Cays, Belize. Atoll Research Bulletin 476:231-248. PDF
Boury-Esnault, N., M. Klautau, C. Bezac, J. Wulff, and A. M. Sole-Cava. 1999. Comparative study of putative conspecific sponge populations from both sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the U.K. 79:39-50. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1997. Causes and consequences of differences in sponge diversity and abundance between the Caribbean and eastern Pacific at Panama. Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, Panama 2:1377-1382. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1997. Parrotfish predation on cryptic sponges of Caribbean coral reefs. Marine Biology 129:41-52. PDF
Clifton, K. E., K. Kim, and J. L. Wulff. 1996. A Field Guide to the Reefs of Caribbean Panama, with an Emphasis on Western San Blas. Pages 167-183 in Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, Panama.
Wulff, J. L. 1997. Mutualisms among species of coral reef sponges. Ecology 78:146-159. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1996. Do the same sponge species live on both the Caribbean and eastern Pacific sides of the Isthmus of Panama? Bulletin of the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences 66:165-173. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1995. Sponge-feeding by the Caribbean starfish Oreaster reticulatus. Marine Biology 123:313-325.
Wulff, J. L. 1995. Effects of a hurricane on survival and orientation of large, erect coral reef sponges. Coral Reefs 14:55-61. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1994. Sponge feeding by Caribbean angelfishes, trunkfishes, and filefishes. Pages 265-271 in R. W. M. van Soest, T. M. G. van Kempen, and J.-C. Braekman, eds. Sponges in Time and Space: Biology, Chemistry, Paleontology. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1991. Asexual fragmentation, genotype success, and population dynamics of erect branching sponges. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 149:227-247. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1990. Patterns and processes of size change in Caribbean demosponges of branching morphology. In: Rï¿½tzler, K., ed. New Perspectives in Sponge Biology. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1986. Variation in clone structure of fragmenting coral reef sponges. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 27:211-230. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1985. Clonal organisms and the evolution of mutualism. Pages 437-446 in J. B. C. Jackson, L. W. Buss, and R. E. Cook, ed. Population Biology and Evolution of Clonal Organisms. Yale University Press, New Haven. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1985. Dispersal and survival of fragments of coral reef sponges. Proceedings of the Fifth International Coral Reef Congress 5:119-124. PDF
Wulff, J. L. 1984. Sponge-mediated coral reef growth and rejuvenation. Coral Reefs 3:157-163. PDF
Woodley, J. D., E. A. Chornesky, P. A. Clifford, J. B. C. Jackson, L. S. Kaufman, J. C. Lang, M. P. Pearson, J. W. Porter, M. C. Rooney, K. W. Rylaarsdam, V. J. Tunnicliffe, C. W. Wahle, J. L. Wulff, A. S. G. Curtis, M. D. Dallmeyer, B. P. Jupp, M. A. R. Koehl, J. Neigel, and E. M. Sides. 1981. Hurricane Allens impact on Jamaican coral reefs. Science 214:749-755. PDF
Wulff, J. L., and L. W. Buss. 1979. Do sponges help hold coral reefs together? Nature 281:474-475. PDF