Sponges Play Vital Role in Coral Reef Ecosystems

Written by on October 8, 2013 in Marine Life, Other Marine Life

Daily Summary

Bile Salts — Sea Lampreys’ Newest Scent of Seduction
New research reveals that bile salts, secreted from the liver and typically associated with digestive functions, are now being used as pheromones by sea lampreys. The researchers explain that the evolution of bile salts, from digestive aid to pheromone, is similar to the way perfume evolved in our society. Researchers hope to use this new information to better control sea lampreys which have caused problems for native silver lampreys in some areas.

Building a Better Fish Trap: WCS Reduces Fish Bycatch With Escape Gaps in Africa
Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research Institute have collaborated to successfully create a selective fish trap that will greatly reduce fish bycatch. They added escape gaps to traditional African basket traps that allow smaller fish and non-target species to escape, while holding the target fish. The researchers say these new traps will help fishing communities increase profits while protecting vital marine resources.

Stove-pipe sponge, Aplysina archeri.

Stove-pipe sponge, Aplysina archeri. Photo credit: Nick Hobgood.

Sponges Recycle Food for Reefs
Coral reefs thrive in clear, nutrient-free waters. Without nutrients, where does the food come from? According to researchers from the Netherlands, the answer is sponges. Sponges take organic matter and small particles that are released by coral and algae and recycle them into food that can be consumed by larger organisms. The discovery of the “sponge loop” could help better protect and conserve endangered coral reefs.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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