Peculiar Deep Ocean Phenomenon Shows That Sponges Travel More Than Previously Believed

Peculiar Deep Ocean Phenomenon Shows That Sponges Travel More Than Previously Believed

Scientists have just discovered that sponges are considerably more active than we ever thought, Sciencealert reports.

Researchers analyzed the deep Arctic seabed via a remotely operated submersible. They searched for traces of life on the seabed.

They searched the submerged seamount peaks of Langseth Ridge of the Arctic Ocean.

It turned out that sponges leave tracks, though they appear stationary.

The team of scientists, led by marine biologist Teresa Morganti of the Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology in Germany, stated:

“This is the first time abundant sponge trails have been observed in situ and attributed to sponge mobility.”

Biologists have previously postulated that sponges are mostly sessile life forms that rarely move in adult form.

Though they slowly reposition themselves at times, they aren’t mainly known for their dexterity or speed under some stimuli.

Upon analyzing the Arctic seabed ridges, the researchers found out that sponge tracks were marked by trails of spicules. Spicules are skeletal-like bits that work as structural elements to support the bodies of sponges, but they also get fragmented and left behind when sponges are slowly creeping away.

“Trails of densely interwoven spicules connected directly to the underside or lower flanks of sponge individuals, suggesting these trails are traces of motility of the sponges,”noted the researchers.

Video data from the OFOBS (Ocean Floor Observation and Bathymetry System) showed that the trails of sponge spicules might be a natural byproduct of their existence.

YouTube video

The team believes that there is a chance the spine-like fragments work as a food source for other sponges, particularly young exemplars.

Also, the team noted that there is no evidence of fast-moving water currents at the observed depths. Also, further research showed that the sponges’ mobility isn’t just a consequence of gravity.


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