05 May 2020
SPONGES: DEEP-SEA SPONGE PRESERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE EXPLOITATION
CIIMAR is part of the SponGES consortium, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of research institutions, environmental non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, that aims to develop an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use of vulnerable sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic.
The project focus on one of the most diverse, ecologically and biologically important and vulnerable marine ecosystems of the deep-sea - sponge grounds – that to date have received very little research and conservation attention.
Recently the project managed to describe ten new rock sponges (lithistid Demospongiae) on the Northeast Atlantic seamounts demonsteating that these ecosystems have a higher diversity of rock sponges than previously thought and that are mostly not shared with the Macaronesian islands or the Mediterranean Sea areas. Check the paper on Biogeosciences.
The project approach will address the scope and challenges of the European Commission’s Blue Growth call by strengthening the knowledge base, improving innovation, predicting changes, and providing decision support tools for management and sustainable use of marine resources. For this, SponGes will fill knowledge gaps on vulnerable sponge ecosystems and provide guidelines for their preservation and sustainable exploitation.