The Unseen World of Sponges

Most of us have done it. We glide along the reef, eyes wide watching the tangs dart around rocks, hoping to catch a glimpse of a turtle or shark.

Vase Sponge
Vase Sponge

Between the gorgonians you see many motionless, and rather uninteresting sponges. Some come in vibrant colors like vase sponges while others are colossal monuments to the deep, such as barrel sponges. But these filter feeding organisms are really quite remarkable!

Sponges are animals who of the Porifera phylum who are filter feeders. While they lack a nervous system like the tunicate that is similar in nature, they require a great deal of water movement around them to enable the pores of the creature to both feed and remove waste.

 

Barrel Sponge
Barrel Sponge

But just how affective are they at filtering? Check out the following clip that really demonstrates all the work common sponges do all along the reef.

I guarantee you will look at them in a new light during your next dive.

What do you think?