Wednesday 25 October 2017

Forest of the Weird

Well, if you call it a Forest of the Weird you know my interest will be piqued. I love a weird forest. Whether it's a mushroom forest, a flesh-eating forest or a forest where all the trees wake up at night to dance in the moonlight, I'm all about weird forests.

So how about a nice underwater sponge forest? Yes, please!

Sponges are those bizarre animals so ancient that some of them have a rather tenuous grasp on the whole 'multicellular' thing. There are sponges out there that you can toss in a mincer, chop them up into itty bitty bits, and the pieces will simply clump together to form a whole new sponge. I'd like to see your bolognese try that! Just don't expect me to eat it afterwards.

Shallow-water sponges often look like barrels, tubes or a mere crust clinging to a rock, but life is tough in the deep sea! Just ask those poor sea cucumbers and acorn worms who have to get up off the sea floor and swim to find good foraging grounds.

Deep sea sponges don't do anything as arduous as that. No, it turns out that when a sponge tries really hard to gather food, it ends up looking like a satellite dish or a mouth on a stick. Facing into the current means they gain access to lots of bacteria and other tiny consumables.

Hey, that's hard work for a sponge. It's not their fault it looks like blissful serenity from the outside.

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