We have been doing more and more dives trying to get in as much research as possible into the season. One of the really important parts of doing research anywhere is also looking around and seeing the environment. I have been fortunate enough to dive at the Jetty site since I started working here and so I also get to see how things have changed. While this site is the most dove on in the region, it is still full of amazing life and animals.
Here is a large hexactinellid sponge – or also known as a glass sponge. These are very large and are more frequent, or at least larger the deeper you go. This one is a really nice and healthy looking one that has a sea spider walking around on it.
However not all of them are looking great. This is the same species but is instead being actively grazed upon by some sponge-eating sea stars (Acodontaster).
As we go shallower we see very large sea squirts (tunicates -Cnimidocarpa in this instance) as well as soft corals.
Its by going back and back to the same sites that we get to see change. It is one of the amazing things about this place – the ability to watch a very slow to respond ecosystem change over time. What windows will this provide into our understanding of this amazing region in the future?