Researchers discover animals once thought to exist only as fossils off the coast of Vancouver, Canada

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 6 years ago
Home  /  Events  /  Researchers discover animals once thought to exist only as fossils off the coast of Vancouver, Canada

This month, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Nuytco Research mounted the first submarine expedition to the glass sponge reefs found in Georgia Strait off of Vancouver, Canada. Researchers have discovered a seafloor oasis made of hundreds of glass sponges—animals once thought to exist only as fossils! 

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A submersible dive into Howe Sound in British Columbia reveals a colony of glass sponges.

 Glass sponges are found across the globe. But only along British Columbia’s continental shelf do they grow over the skeletons of their dead ancestors to form massive deepwater reefs. For decades, scientists knew glass sponge reefs only as Mesozoic-era fossils from about 160 million years ago. But in 1986, oceanographers conducting a geophysical survey in British Columbia’s noticed an “acoustic anomaly” on their instruments. They had just stumbled on a 9,000-year-old glass sponge reef some eight stories high—a one-of-a-kind find. Studying Marine Biology in Vancouver and working at the Vancouver Aquarium as a researcher, I was fortunate to have seen similar sponge reefs first hand. Sadly, the sponge reefs in southern British Columbia’s Georgia Strait currently do not have any protection and are at risk  by fishing activities putting them at risk of being irreparably damaged.  Read more here  

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Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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