Marine sponges collected in Palau, Micronesia, were investigated for hydroxylated or methoxylated analogues of brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), brominated dibenzo-p-dioxin (BDD), and brominated biphenyls. The neutral fractions of Haliclona sp. and Callyspongia sp. contained 2'-methoxy-2,3',4,5'-tetraBDE, 6-methoxy-2,2',4,4'-tetraBDE, 2',6-dimethoxy-2,3',4,5-tetraBDE 2,2'-dimethoxy-3,3',5,5'-tetrabromobiphenyl, several methoxy-triBDEs, and dimethoxy-penta-/hexaBDEs. The methoxylated BDEs in sponges were strikingly similar to those of local fish living in the western Pacific Ocean. The total concentrations of these compounds (Sigma MeO-PBDE) in both sponges were 63.5 mu g/g extractable organic matter (EOM) for Haliclona sp. and 36.5 mu g/g EOM for Callyspongia sp., which were about 2 orders of magnitude higher than the levels seen in tropical coral reef fish (unicornfish or surgeonfish) (280-290 ng/g lipid) and groupers (550 ng/g lipid) from Okinawan coastal waters. The phenolic fractions of both sponges contained hydroxy-methoxy tetra-/pentaBDEs as well as hydroxy-tetraBDD, in addition to the corresponding phenolic tetraBDE analogues. Although the total concentrations of phenolic products (27-80 mu g/g EOM) in both sponges fell within a range comparable to the methoxylated products, Sigma OH-PBDE in local fish were trace level (less than 10 ng/g lipid of) or undetectable. This survey indicates that marine sponges are a possible source of the MeO-PBDE analogues that biomagnify via the food chain to the higher trophic organisms in the western Pacific, whereas the distribution of the corresponding hydroxylated analogues is limited.