Q:

Why are sponges important ?

A:

Quick Answer

Sponges are important because of their roles in recycling nutrients and the part they play in the coral reef life cycle. For instance, sponges break down complex organic material into food for other things living on the coral reefs.

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Full Answer

Much of the organic material that algae and coral produce can't be used in its current form by other inhabitants of the coral reef because of its complexity. This is where the sponges prove useful. They can take this complex material and turn it in to something a little simpler. According to the Coral Science Organization, much of their diet consists of dissolved organic carbon. Sponges also help to lower nitrogen levels in the water and keep the ecosystem clean because bacteria found in the sponge turns this nitrogen into forms of food.

Although sponges are multi-cellular animals, they also have one of the simplest structures. Instead of soft tissues and organs, sponges have pores that bring water and nutrients into them. This water is then expelled through an opening in the top of the sponge called the osculum. Sponges attach themselves to rock, and they range widely in both color and size. Some species of sponges also ingest very small crustaceans.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where do sponges come from?

    A:

    Sea sponges are animals that live on the ocean floor. After human beings harvest and dry them, the sponges serve as the household tool many people use to bathe and wash dishes and cars, among other items.

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  • Q:

    What do sea sponges eat?

    A:

    Most sea sponges are detrivorous, meaning they consume organic debris and various microbes that drift through ocean currents. Harp sponges, however, are carnivorous and use hooks located on their arms to catch shrimp and other small animals.

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  • Q:

    What are some interesting facts about sea sponges?

    A:

    Sea sponges are bottom-dwelling, multi-cellular animals. Most sea sponges attach themselves to the ocean floor, other sea animals or rocks for the duration of their lives. A small number of sea sponges are mobile creatures that move along the ocean floor at the rate of 1 to 3 millimeters per day.

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  • Q:

    How do sea sponges reproduce?

    A:

    Sea sponges reproduce asexually by budding and sexually by releasing male gametes into the water. These gametes are taken in by other sponges, which then produce blastulas that are also released into the water. Budding can be external or internal. Internal budding is reserved for harsh conditions, in which the internal offspring is protected as the parent sponge dies around it.

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