MLSS Discovers Massive Sponge Bioherm in Howe Sound

Glass sponge reef in Dorman Bay, Howe Sound with Puget Sound Rockfish. Photo: Adam Taylor

From the MLSS Drop Cam Team

On October 4th, 2014, a large, and newly discovered glass sponge bioherm was found near Anvil Island by MLSS marine biologist Lena Clayton and Board Member Glen Dennison. Several hours of video imagery was recorded showing a massive glass sponge bed never before recorded.  Sponges as large as several meters were recorded over an approximate 30 acre site. This is one of the largest bioherms discovered in Howe Sound to date. 
Anvil Island, Howe Sound. Photo credit: Glen Dennison
Anvil Island, Howe Sound. Photo credit: Glen Dennison
The site was located after high resolution 3D bathymetric maps of the bottom topography were generated, guiding a deep drop camera over 250 feet down above the sponge. This amazing discovery has been named the Clayton Bioherm.  Clayton and Dennison observed: low numbers of rockfish, ghost prawn traps, and unidentified metal wreckage in the bioherm. The site was mapped by Dennison and Clayton over a several week period before running numerous video tracks over the site.
Still from drop camera video displaying the  newly discovered sponge reef along with an abandoned fishing trap
Still from drop camera video displaying the newly discovered sponge reef along with an abandoned fishing trap
Clayton Bioherm Facts
Mapped ocean floor around bioherm: 3.6 million sq. ft
Average water depth of mapped area: 350 ft
Highest density of sponge in the bioherm: 100% coverage
Age of the bioherm: unknown at this time
Sponge species observed:
Aphrocallistes vastus and some  Heterochone calyx
Stay tuned for more details
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Andrew Appleton says:

    Very interesting. Have you considered the pulp mill (Howe Sound Pulp and Paper) directly across from Anvil Island having any affect on this sponge growth? Bio-effluent has been released into the chuck in the past, and some believe it may have spurred growth of certain organisms while diminishing growth of others (rock fish). Any study of this? BTW I work at the mill

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