A JURASSIC PARK OF SPONGE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA
Spanish researchers have published the discovery of a sponge reef unique in the world. These structures, which are thought to be extinct for millions of years, has been found to 760 meters deep, surrounding small underwater mountain between Valencia and Ibiza, where there is oil drilling plans.
The small seamount is located in an area where there are plans to polls hydrocarbons, and is formed by the species Leiodermatium pfeifferae, sponge so far only known in the Atlantic, from Macaronesia to the Caribbean, so also it is the first report of this species in the Mediterranean.
Silica reefs built by sponges rather than corals were common in the Jurassic and Cretaceous seas, and were believed extinct. To general surprise, in 1987, a live coral silica reef was discovered at 200 m depth in the Canadian Pacific coast, formed by Hexactinellid sponges (“glass sponges”).
The discovery of the reef has been made by a ROV aboard the Oceana Ranger, allowing filming and collecting information on the species associated with this ecosystem, like other sponges, corals, gorgonians, corals deep, conger eels, etc.