Coral Reef Sponge Science - A Cure for What Ails You?

Coral Reef Sponge Science

Already the source of components for two cancer drugs, sponges are one of our best chances to find the cure for cancer, heart disease, and other human ailments. And they filter all the water flowing over a coral reef every couple of days.

Armed with an EXO2 water quality sonde—equipped with dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, turbidity, algae and fDOM sensors (among others)—the University of Delaware in conjunction with NASA is working to measure the metabolism of the barrel sponge and understand this critically important organism. The crew also utilizes the SonTek CastAway for instantaneous profiles of temperature, salinity, and sound speed.

EXO as an Oceanographic Research Tool

The University of Delaware team, led by Art Trembanis, collected high temporal and spatial resolution water quality data with an EXO instrument that easily connected to a DeepWorker submersible. In addition to water quality mapping along the flight paths of the DeepWorker submersibles, the team also used the EXO to collect water quality near giant sponges to see what impact the sponges have on localized water quality.

The EXO2 sonde is the only instrument on the market with such a large sensor payload capacity in a small package that works autonomously without any external power or cables.

Despite the long length of the flights and the high sampling rate, the EXO2 far exceeded battery life expectations for this mission.

Find out more at One World One Ocean.

Watch Fabien Cousteau, son of the world-famous Jacques Cousteau, speak on breaking his father's record for days spent underwater in this informative TED talk.

After spending 31 days at the underwater research laboratory Aquarius, Mr. Cousteau shares with us the tools used, and the lessons learned about sponge science and climate issues.

"We used all sorts of cutting edge tools, such as the this EXO2 Sonde, or what I like to call the ‘sponge proctologist’. Whereby the Sonde itself tests for metabolism rates in what, in this particular case, is a barrel sponge – or the redwoods of the [ocean]. And this gives us a much better gauge of what’s happening underwater with regard to climate change-related issues, and how the dynamics of that affect us here on land.”



Additional Blog Posts of Interest:

Monitoring Coral Reefs in the Caribbean: Protecting Our Rainforests of the Ocean

Real-Time Water Quality Monitors Gauge Florida Lagoon's Health

Water Instrumentation Provides Insight for Ecological Research

10 Tips to Prevent Biofouling on Water Quality Instruments

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