Associated Shape of Life Content
Sponges Origins: Questions
Sponges: Animal Eve, Where Do Organisms Come From?
Sponges: The Trailblazers
Who Was Animal Eve?
Sponges and Paleontology
Multicellularity evolved in animals, starting with the sponge, and also evolved independently in other groups. “Simple multicellularity has evolved numerous times within the Eukarya, but complex multicellular organisms belong to only six clades: animals, land plants, some red algae, laminarialean brown algae, and two groups of fungi.
Sponges and Human Interactions
Strong, but flexible sponges inspire new materials. Scientists created their own spicules, imitating the support structure of sponges: "Inspired by Deep Sea Sponges: Creating Flexible Minerals".
Sponges and Climate
These sponges may benefit from increasing ocean acidification. Boring sponges – “boring” means excavating – break down and recycle the calcium carbonate of the reefs. These sponges play a key role in that recycling. And with increasing ocean acidification the calcium carbonate on the reef will be easier for the boring sponge to excavate.
Glass sponge reefs may be suffering. Watch the video below about long-term research on glass sponges.
Sponges' Role in Ecosystem
The mystery of how coral reefs thrive in "ocean deserts" has been solved, scientists say in "Sponges help coral reefs thrive in ocean deserts". You can also download a pdf of this on-line article.
General Information about Sponges
Read ORIGINS Animal Eve Sponges from the Shape of Life book.
This is a good overview of sponges: Ocean Animals - Sponges. Here is a description of sponges with illustrations: Sponges - The Simplest Animals.
World’s Most Awesome Invertebrate
Nature has inspired inventions since the first humans tried to make things. Biomimicry is the practice of looking to nature to help solve design problems. Today scientists and engineers are finding inspiration from animals and plants that may surprise you.
Activity: Invertebrate Critter Cards
Medicines from Sponges
We have so many drugs to help with our aches and pains and illnesses. Where did those drugs come from? Until recently, most of our early drugs were derived from plants. When scientists search for possible useful products from plants, animals and microorganisms it’s called bioprospecting. In recent decades, marine scientists have been looking at natural compounds from the immense diversity of marine animals as a source of potential new medicines.
By Nancy Burnett and Natasha Fraley
What Came First-- Sponges or Ctenophores?
By Natasha Fraley At Shape of Life, we present sponges as the first animals. But recently several scientists make a case for ctenophores (common name comb jelly) being the first animal. As of today scientists still don’t agree on the issue. This is an example of “science in action” where new research and technologies call into question long held science. This is basically how science works. The evolving nature of science will have a major influence on science teaching in the classroom.