MLSS launched a field-based experiment funded by DFO to study settlement (recruitment) of larval glass sponges and other sessile biota (algae and animals) within the Halkett sponge reef ecosystem. With DFO scientists, MLSS designed and built artificial ‘larval settlement trees’ to emulate the live glass sponges within the reef. MLSS divers installed the trees on March 4, 2017 and continue to photograph evidence of settled/attached biota on a regular basis. Settled biota will be collected and preserved for future identification. Understanding sponge recruitment is crucial for estimating sponge reef recovery potential and may influence important conservation strategies.
See MLSS team of divers reflecting on their experience and success with the tree installations. (Click here for the video)