Publisher’s note: it is dangerously easy to take for granted our oceans and their inhabitants. Most of us will never see with our own eyes creatures like the glass sea sponge in its home environment. The ocean seems so vast and powerful it’s incomprehensible to think of it as under siege just below the surface. That’s why organizations like the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, and CPAWS (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) need our attention, and our support. The Basics of Glass Sponge Reefs is especially good. Cool music, too!
JULY 16, 2013 Sechelt BC – This Sunday, July 21 2013, please join the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association at the grand opening of Mission Point House, and help us celebrate the unique life form called the ‘glass sponge reef’.
Glass Sponge Reefs are ancient multicellular animals; they filter feed by generating currents through their porous body structure. The only known living examples of these prehistoric organisms are found in our area -the largest reef at Hecate Straight, smaller reefs at Sechelt and Howe Sound.
The North McCall Bank glass sponge reefs are just off the shore of Sechelt at depths ranging from 90 to 210 meters with heights of 6 meters and have a foot print of about 180 hectares spread over an area of some 4 square kilometres.
Glass sponge reefs covering 1,000 sq km of sea floor were first discovered in B.C.’s Hecate Strait in the late 1980s. Over a decade later more glass sponge reefs were discovered, this time on the seafloor in parts of the Strait of Georgia; just off the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver and the southern Gulf Islands. Thought to have been extinct for millions of years, the reefs are thousands of years old. B.C.’s coast is home to the only living glass sponge reefs of this size anywhere on Earth.
These reefs provide important habitat for rockfish, spider and King crab, shrimp, prawns, euphasids, annelid worms, bryozoans, rare bivalves and gastropods, sea stars, and urchins.
These rare and vulnerable glass sponge reefs need our protection, especially for:
- Unprecedented opportunities for scientific research
- Preservation of significant biodiversity
- Ensurance that the habitat provided by them will continue its positive affect on fish stocks
Please sign the petition asking the federal government to help protect the glass sponge reefs.
See videos of the reefs:
- Glass Sponge Reefs: The Basics
- Defense Whips documents a deep water dive in Howe Sound, featuring unique cloud sponges
- Glass sponge bioherm and garden
- Cradles of Glass Teaser is a Wild In Blue pre-production of a documentary focusing on the fragile glass sponges of British Columbia