by Amanda Kahn
This past week, I left frozen Edmonton, Alberta for some field work on the coast. My supervisor (Sally Leys) and I went on the hunt for larvae of glass sponges. Several years ago, a single larva was spotted in a sponge collected in November or December. We then found sperm and eggs in sponges this past year, so we decided to go investigate. This is important because this species of glass sponges forms the foundation of the sponge reefs that populate the straits of western Canada (and so far, form reefs nowhere else in the world), so learning about how and when they reproduce will help us determine what factors might positively or negatively affect their breeding success, and therefore the successful growth of the reefs.
Check out the post documenting our trip at the Leys lab website.
Also, to see what the reefs look like that these sponges form, check out the video at this link, compiled by Sameena Sherman of the Leys lab, showing reefs in Hecate Strait.