Deep-Sea Sponge Aggregations

Habitat: Deep-Sea Sponge Aggregations

Description: Deep sea sponge aggregations are found on both hard and soft substrates at depths of between 250 and 1300m; ancient iceberg plough marks are an ideal habitat as the stable boulders and cobbles provide numerous attachment points for the sponges. They are composed principally of glass sponges and the giant sponges ( Desmospongia). The spicules from dead sponges that cover the seabed inhibit the colonisation of the sediments by burrowing animals but the sponges provide an ideal attachment point for brittlestars lifting them above the sea bed where they can catch passing food particles.

OSPAR Regions where it occurs: I, III, IV, V

OSPAR Regions where under threat and/or in decline: I, III, IV, V

What is the latest status of the feature?

The status assessment describes the latest changes in distribution, abundance and range of the feature, as well as any changes in the threats and pressures impacting the feature. The status assessments are updated regularly and inform OSPAR’s consideration of the effectiveness of the measures and actions that have been adopted and implemented by Contracting Parties.

Why is this feature included on the OSPAR List?

What protective measures and actions has OSPAR committed to taking?

What actions have been implemented by OSPAR?

An implementation report will be published in late 2022