Budget: 48,799 €
Coordinator: Mayotte Nature Environnement & et le Centre Universitaire de Mayotte

Assessment of wastewater impact on the lagoon using sponges


Surface water management in Mayotte is a major issue for the sustainable development of the island. Deficiencies in the sanitation network result in the diffusion of contaminated surface water increasing the risk of anthropogenic pollution in the Maoré Lagoon. Within the legislative framework imposed by the Water Framework Directive, it is essential to be able to identify the pressures that these waters exert on biodiversity and to assess the lagoon’s ecosystem services in relation to these anthropogenic disruptions.

In this respect, filter-feeding organisms such as sponges are remarkable, on the one hand through their overexposure to pollution (sentinel role) and on the other hand because of their role in purifying water (ecosystem service). The objective of MaySponge is therefore to initiate the development of innovative methodologies based on the use of sponges as auxiliary organisms for the evaluation of the impact of wastewater on the Maoré Lagoon and the characterization of the ecosystem services they provide. To this end, the project will seek to carry out a proof of concept of the use of sponges for environmental monitoring, and to make sponges and the results of the project known to the general public and lagoon users.

The results of the project will be disseminated to environmental professionals in order to initiate a deployment of the methodologies in wastewater impact monitoring procedures, and to discuss the effectiveness of the methodologies to characterize the purification capacities of sponges in order to ultimately allow the monetization of their ecosystem service.

Barrel sponge duo (photo credit: Elliot Sucré)

Tissue biopsy – Xestospongia testudinaria (photo credit: Laura Mégevand)