1 September 2016
Source: CBC News
Author: Paul Withers
European scientists are at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Halifax this week studying deep-sea sponges recovered off the coast of Nova Scotia by the Canadian research ship Hudson.
The veteran Coast Guard vessel is just back from an ambitious month-long, deep-water ocean survey that ran from Bermuda to the underwater canyons near Sable Island.
"We believe sponges are very important to the ocean ecosystem," Jasper de Goeij of the University of Amsterdam said.
Doctorate student Martin Bart and de Goeij are at the Canadian government facility testing to see if deep-sea sponges behave like their shallow-water cousins and take in bacteria and release food used by the tiny organisms at the bottom of the ocean food chain.
"We are hoping to get a lot more information on where are these sponge grounds. How do they work and how can we protect them in the future?" said de Goeij.