A Sea of Sponges


Sponges aren’t the stars of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but their diversity of colors, shapes and sizes is eye-catching. And consider this: Every multi-celled animal on Earth is based on the genetic blueprint of sponges.They are truly the foundation of the animal kingdom.

Our sponges may not be as startling as the stove-pipe sponge that looks so much like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. They don’t have the personality of Spongebob Squarepants. But they’re fascinating animals with a vital role to play in healthy oceans.

Sponges populate many of our exhibits in the Ocean’s Edge galleries. You can get a closer look — and even discover what they feel like — at our touch pools.

They’re simple: a group of loosely connected, nearly independent cells, with no organs and no tissues. If broken apart, they can put themselves back together again. Many produce powerful chemicals to defend themselves — chemicals that have cancer-fighting properties

Globally, it’s estimated there are upwards of 10,000 to 15,000 species of sponges in the ocean — with thousands left to be discovered. Not long ago, our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute documented a new carnivorous sponge: the harp sponge, pictured above.

The yellow goiter sponge, also pictured here, was spotted on an MBARI dive to the Pioneer Seamount. Some goiter sponges can grow to be nearly 10 feet across.

Photo credits: red volcano sponge and cobalt blue sponge, © Monterey Bay Aquarium/Steve Webster; orange puffball sponge, © Monterey Bay Aquarium/David Cripe; harp sponge and goiter sponge, © MBARI

Notes

  1. mikadata reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  2. energyofparadise reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  3. artiste9999 reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  4. floresalbert reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  5. jamesstuart1994 reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  6. mantisbones reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  7. iknowallyourdirtysecrets reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  8. enchantedlyre reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  9. ezzat-butt reblogged this from fmleighed
  10. primal-words reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  11. classy-cat-in-glasses reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  12. burrsquee reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  13. uscginger reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  14. satyrday reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  15. mylovelycannibal reblogged this from sinister-science
  16. bigbabytina reblogged this from montereybayaquarium
  17. greensage5 reblogged this from montereybayaquarium

About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.