Everyone has heard of a sponge before. However, not everyone would be able to tell the front of a sponge from the back, much less be aware that sponges have an important role in the Ocean. These hidden living creatures have plenty of secrets, some of which I will reveal in this article. In some countries, dried sponges are used for cleaning surfaces. In Burgers’ Ocean, living sponges are used to keep the water clean.
What is a sponge?
A sponge is a very simple animal. A sponge does not have a heart, a brain, or even any organs. Sponges are the most primitive multicellular organisms. They are unique in their simplicity—a recipe for success that makes it possible to survive in various aquatic environments. This allows them to live in the ocean at great depths, but also in bodies of freshwater in the Netherlands.
A sponge only has a few types of cells and is always fixed to its substrate. Sponges are a type of filter. Water flows into the animal through countless small holes, where special cells extract food from the water and the remaining water is released again through a few large holes. Small moving hairs (flagella) on certain cells keep the water flowing, but a little help from Mother Nature is also important. Therefore, sponges enjoy an environment with a strong current.