The Sponges of Galiano Island, BC

Last updated May 2022

To date our community has documented 6 species of sponge (Phylum: Porifera) in the waters around Galiano Island, confirming 15% of the historical records and adding 1 new species to the list. A total of 40 species are now reported for the island, with 34 historically reported species still at large.

A great diversity of sponges are expected to occur in the region, many of which remain undescribed. Hence, many more species could turn up around Galiano Island with more specialized search effort. Currently, there are 70 species recognized in the Salish Sea (de Voogd et al., 2021). Accounting for these species as well as those unknown to science, we estimate as many as 300 to 400 taxa may be present off the coast of British Columbia (Austin, unpubl., 2017).

Below you can explore a data visualization showing the species reported for Galiano Island. 

Special thanks to Jackson Chu, Andy Lamb, Donna Gibbs, Charlie Gibbs, Bruce Ott, as well as the late Bill Austin, for their work documenting our regional sponge diversity. To learn more about Galiano Island’s sponges, check out the treatment in our taxonomic data paper, which establishes a formal baseline record of Galiano Island’s marine animal diversity.


  • Reported Diversity of Porifera: Galiano Island vs Salish Sea [40:70 spp.] 57% 57%
  • Reported Diversity of Porifera: Galiano Island vs coastal British Columbia [40:400 spp.] 10% 10%

Local Observations