She said spawning

scet_03_img0258I’m really enjoying The Oyster’s Garter these days. Miriam Goldstein keeps me updated with important nature stories like “When sponges ruled the Earth” 635 million years ago in the Early Cambrian epoch, just before the Cambrian explosion.

Since more than 90% of modern sponges resemble those ancient sponges, perhaps there’s something to be said for a simple life of filtering seawater and spawning.

Heh heh. She said spawning. I like Miriam’s tricks. Her word clicks through to a spawning Xestospongia. Nice. The image is a classic I’ve never seen before. Awesome. Candy mint for you, MG. Your poetry is inspiration.

Xestospongia muta is a big time spawner on Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) at the upper edge of the twilight zone (~130′) in the Gulf of Mexico. This video below is courtesy FGB Diver, from September of 2006. It shows female, them male colonies spawning. FGBNMS staff regularly monitor annual spawning events. This is the deepest recorded spawning activity on the Flower Garden Banks to date.

I remember this dive rather vividly. We swam in scuba gear away from the boat as far as possible before catching our breath, then descended along the flank of the bank to ~120 feet to a scene resembling a forest fire, underwater. The “smoke” on the horizon was actually sponge spawn. We’d swam into a deep water love scene.

FGB Diver and I just thought we would share this fond memory of deep spawning event in a spongorific display of link love to the Oyster’s Garter. Happy Valentines, Miriam. You’re a sweetheart. Deep Sea News loves what you do.

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Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

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