Sea sponges are multicellular organisms that are the simplest animals alive. They do not have any brains, circulatory, digestive or nervous system. They feed on plankton, organic material, and bacteria by digesting them. Due to this capability of absorbing the nutrients from the other organisms, they have received the name of “filter feeders”. They also eliminate the wastes from the body in the similar way that is from the pores of their body. In reference to the excretory wastes, they can pass around 20000 times more than their volumes through their systems. This particular aspect has made it an important household item because they have the capacity to move a large volume of water through themselves in an efficient manner. Moreover, they do not hold items that cause bad odors due to the presence of anti-bacterial enzymes, thereby inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew. In addition to that, they are toxin free and naturally hypoallergenic. Another feature of the sponges is that they are mostly asymmetrical in shape other than some being radically symmetrical. They also, have the inability to travel, which makes them fixated in the ocean bed. The branch of studies that allows one to study sponges is known as Spongiology.
Sea Sponges live in the depth of the ocean bed. They are found for 750 million years and can be found all over the world. They are also found in huge varieties which can be estimated to be about 5000 different identified species. Maximum species of the sponges are found in calm and clear waters, as they cannot sustain in stirred up sediments as it could block up their pores. Furthermore, these species attached themselves to some solid objects in the ocean bed which helps them to stick in the place. In this way, they also filtrates the water around them from the particulates which are found. Only 150 species are found in freshwater. Nowadays, they are also harvested as it is an item of utility. The species of sea sponges that are especially used for commercial use are Yellow, Wool and the Grass sponges. They are good exfoliators. Another name of these particular organisms are Porifera. They are the first creatures to have been evolved 5000 years ago.
Sponges are basically diploblasts which indicates two basic germ layers within them – the outer layer known as the ectoderm and the inner layer known as endoderm. The structure of the sponges are asymmetrical. It means that if it is cut in half, one piece would not be in equal proportion as the other one. However, there are three body structure present in the sponge will be described in this section. The body plan is called the asconoid there is a fluid filled cavity called spongocoel which is surrounded by two major cell layers. Pores called ostia pumps the water into the spongocoel and removes the water through an opening called the osculum. Choanocytes is the name of the digestive tract which helps the sponges to filter and take in food. Now comes synconoid which is a much complex body plan than the first one. In this type of body plan, the ostia leads to a canal networks where it is lined by choanocytes. Water arrives through this channel and arrive at the spongocoel. After that, the most complex body plan that comes is the leuconoid. The canal system in these type of sponges are more intricate branched network. Moreover, the canals lead to the digestive chambers rather than the spongocoel. In addition to that, the leuconoid walls are lined by chaonocytes in the digestive tract instead of the canals. The water that is being released passes through the digestive chambers which leads to the osculum. The most common features in these three body plans is the presence of a holdfast at the base of each animal. The primary importance of this holdfast is to help the sponge stick at the surface of a rock and prevent it from getting carried away by the water currents.
The sea sponges are useful in many aspects. They help the ecosystem in many ways by purifying the water around it. Apart from that, it has great medicinal values which is being discovered recently by biotechnologist, marine researchers and educators in this field. It has also founds its use in the making of anticancer and anti-malarial drugs. They are biodegradable meaning they would not harm the ecosystem as they would be broken down by microorganism. Due to its many properties it is used for scrubbing and cleaning agents. Its cleaning properties are various as it does not retain odor. It also contains an enzyme which blocks the growth of bacteria. As a cleaning agent, it has good reputation due to its gentle effect on the skin. The high qualities one are the better as it do not cause abrasion on the skin. Natural sea sponges have various uses as it is effective for all types of skins including the sensitive ones. This is due to the presence of essential minerals like zinc, sodium, magnesium and potassium. Apart from its use as a cleaning and scrubbing agent, sea sponges have also found its use in the paints and brushes industry. It is because of the natural texture of the sponge which will help you to paint a wall or a surface. It brings in a balance and depth to the work. For this multipurpose use of sponges, it is harvested all the year round. However, it is important to note that not all the sponges can be used by humans as only the sponges with soft skeletons have found their use which however, comprises only a very small percentage of the sea sponges. Another important characteristic of the sea sponges is its durability which makes it a matter of utility. Its sustainable nature is also something which is worth mentioning. They are harvested without being destroyed as they are cut one inch above the base where they can regrow. Moreover, this process of harvesting is good for its health. All the benefits of the sea sponge makes it an essential thing of utility.
The sea sponges are living animals which stays in the ocean floor attached to the rocks or other things. They are multicellular animals having the name Porifera. Majority of them live in the salt water whereas only 150 species stay in the freshwater. They are also the first and simple members of the group Metazoa in the ancestral lineage of animals. Previously, it was characterized as parazoa another complex members of the Phylum porifera. Another reason for them being animals is that they are multicellular and diploblast meaning they have two layers of cells. The sponges are however blessed with immortality as they are totipotent. They give rise to reproductive cells and other types of organisms.
The three types of a sponges are asconoid, synconoid and leuconoid. It is made up of skeleton composed of then fiber spongin. It is also made up of silica and/ or calcium carbonate. Now, ninety percent of the sponges are found which belongs to the group of Demosponge. This particular group alone contains 4750 species found all over the world, from the seashore to the deepest core of the sea. They are found in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, red, and orange to green and purple. With all these variety of these species, it makes the marine body a rich variety of the collection of various species. Calcarea are the sponges which are exceptionally made up of calcium carbonate. They are mainly found in the temperate waters such as the Indian Ocean. However, they can be found at a shallow depth of less than 1000 meters and not at the deepest parts of the ocean. These sponges are very tiny and grow to less than 10 centimeters tall.
Hexactenillida is another type of sponge which is found all over the world but most specifically in the Antarctic Waters. They are also known as glass sponges which stands up to a height of 30 centimeters. They have strong bases which holds them to the ocean floor. Moreover, the central cavities allow the water to pass through them. They also form a symbiotic relationship with the shrimps who live inside the sponges’ central cavity. This symbiotic relationship is often considered et5ernal and have been romanticized in Japan’s culture. It is used as a gift in the Japanese wedding and is known as the Venus flower basket.
Sponges are extremely beautiful and beneficial creation of nature. Its natural and organic properties have been useful which is used as a cleaning agent. They are much beneficial than the synthetic ones. Moreover, they also come in variety of shapes and designs. It is being harvested nowadays in large quantities due to its variety of usage. It can also be used as a giveaway due to its beautiful appearance. Therefore, it definitely has a significant role to play in the ecosystem as well as the utility of humankind.