Home Canadian Lifestyle B.C.’s Sponges Thrive Despite Climate Change

B.C.’s Sponges Thrive Despite Climate Change

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Glass Sponges Climate Change

Climate change poses many threats to life on earth, and each and every living creature will ultimately feel its effects in one way or another. One of the main after-effects is a major change in oxygen levels in our oceans. All living creatures need oxygen in order to survive; some more than others.

According to a recent study performed by a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta, Sally Leys, British Colombian sea sponges; more specifically, glass sponges, were found to have been particularly adept at being able to navigate the challenges of lower oxygen levels in the ocean. In fact B.C. glass sponges were found to need much lower levels of oxygen than sponges in other parts of the world. The statistics are actually quite astounding, with B.C. glass sponges in some cases needing only 10% of the total oxygen used by other species.

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We Don’t All Need The Same

According to Leys, it requires quite the mind-shift to accept that not all living creatures require the same levels of oxygen. Leys says that this is because we (as humans) tend to think of animals as needing what we need to survive. We are very dependent on high levels of oxygen, and so the assumption is naturally that it must be so for all animals. But, of course, it turns out that this is not the case at all.

Some marine creatures have a much better chance at survival, and even to thrive, in the face of global warming. But with this having been said, scientists remain very concerned about the rapidly diminishing levels of oxygen in our oceans. Oxygen levels are affected by everything from agricultural to industrial pollution. These are the main culprits along our coastlines, but in the open oceans, its climate change that is largely to blame.

The Secret To Surviving Man

B.C.’s glass sponges are found only off the Pacific Northwest coast and they form reefs as they grow. The reefs can reach heights of up to 30 metres and may span for kilometres on end, but even so, they are exceptionally fragile. And yet, according to the vast research performed by Leys, they seem to be quite resilient as far as changes in temperatures caused by global warming and climate change are concerned.

Leys describes this as a glimmer of hope in the face of a very dire situation, especially relating to the world’s marine life. B.C.’s glass sponges may very well be able to survive one of the most dangerous man-made disasters of our time.

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