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Venus' Flower Basket

Euplectella aspergillum Owen 1841

Brief Summary

    Venus' flower basket: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    The Venus' flower basket (Euplectella aspergillum) is a hexactinellid sponge in the phylum Porifera inhabiting the deep ocean.

    The sponge often symbiotically houses two small spongicolid shrimp (which are not actually shrimp, but Stenopodidea), a male and a female, who live out their lives inside the sponge. The shrimp breed, and when their offspring are tiny, they escape to find a new Venus' flower basket of their own. The shrimp inside the basket clean it and, in return, the basket provides food for the shrimp by trapping it in its tissues and then releasing wastes into the body of the sponge for the shrimp. It is also speculated that the bioluminescent light of bacteria harnessed by the sponge may attract other small organisms which the shrimp eat.[citation needed] In Japan, this symbiotic relationship symbolizes the idea "till death do us part", and the sponge is given as a wedding gift (in a dead, dry state).

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Comprehensive Description

    Venus' flower basket
    provided by wikipedia

    The Venus' flower basket (Euplectella aspergillum) is a hexactinellid sponge in the phylum Porifera inhabiting the deep ocean.

    The sponge often symbiotically houses two small spongicolid shrimp (which are not actually shrimp, but Stenopodidea), a male and a female, who live out their lives inside the sponge. The shrimp breed, and when their offspring are tiny, they escape to find a new Venus' flower basket of their own. The shrimp inside the basket clean it and, in return, the basket provides food for the shrimp by trapping it in its tissues and then releasing wastes into the body of the sponge for the shrimp. It is also speculated that the bioluminescent light of bacteria harnessed by the sponge may attract other small organisms which the shrimp eat.[citation needed] In Japan, this symbiotic relationship symbolizes the idea "till death do us part", and the sponge is given as a wedding gift (in a dead, dry state).[1]

    Occurrence

    E. aspergillum is found in a small area of the sea nearby the Philippine Islands. Similar species occur near Japan and in other parts of the western Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

    Morphology

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    "Euplectella aspergillum, with the soft tissues preserved". HMS Challenger specimen. Collection of the Natural History Museum, London

    The body structure of these animals is a thin-walled, cylindrical, vase-shaped tube with a large central atrium. The body is composed entirely of silica in the form of 6-pointed siliceous spicules, which is why they are commonly known as glass sponges. The spicules are composed of 3 perpendicular rays giving them 6 points. Spicules are microscopic, pin-like structures within the sponge’s tissues that provide structural support for the sponge. It is the combination of spicule forms within a sponge’s tissues that helps identify the species. In the case of glass sponges the spicules "weave" together to form a very fine mesh which gives the sponge’s body a rigidity not found in other sponge species and allows glass sponges to survive at great depths in the water column.

    Optical fibers and solar cells

    The glassy fibers that attach the sponge to the ocean floor, 5–20 cm long and thin as human hair, are of interest to fiber optics researchers. The sponge extracts silicic acid from seawater and converts it into silica, then forms it into an elaborate skeleton of glass fibers. Other sponges such as the orange puffball sponge (Tethya aurantium) can also produce glass biologically. The current manufacturing process for optical fibers requires high temperatures and produces a brittle fiber. A low-temperature process for creating and arranging such fibers, inspired by sponges, could offer more control over the optical properties of the fibers. These nano-structures are also potentially useful for the creation of more efficient, low-cost solar cells.

    Material strength

    These sponges skeletons have complex geometric configurations, which have been extensively studied for their stiffness, yield strength, and minimal crack propagation. An aluminum tube (aluminum and glass have similar elastic modulus) of equal length, effective thickness, and radius, but homogeneously distributed, has 1/100th the stiffness.

    External links

    • Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg The Venus' flower basket and skyscrapers YouTube.
    • William McCall, AP (August 20, 2003). "Glassy sponge has better fiber optics than man-made"..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    • Joanna Aizenberg et al. PNAS 2004. "Biological glass fibers: Correlation between optical and structural properties" (PDF).
    • Kevin Bullis (Nov–Dec 2006). "Silicon and Sun". Technology Review.
    • Clare Valentine. Encyclopedia of Life.

    References

    1. ^ Verena Schoepf and Claire Ross (March 9, 2015). "Perth Canyon: First Deep Exploration: A deep-sea love story".
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Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    This sponge species is found in the western Pacific Ocean near the Philippine Islands. Other species in this genus are found in oceans all around the world (Bayer and Owre 1968; Pearse and Buchsbaum 1987; Britannica.com 1999-2000).

    Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

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    bibliographic citation
    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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Morphology

    Morphology
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    E. aspergillum is radially symmetric and of moderate size, ranging from 7.5cm up to 1.3m in height. The majority are between 10cm and 30cm tall. The skeleton contains hexactine (six-rayed) siliceous spicules and in addition contains a latticework of fused siliceous spicules. This is where is gets the name "glass sponge" because quite literally it is made of glass, making it the most exquisite example of the class Hexactinellida, but also as precarious and as brittle as glass can be. Surrounding this beautiful skeleton is a net of living tissue called a trabecular net, which is created by the fusion of amoeboid cells called archaeocytes. Within this trabecular net are elongated, finger-like chambers covered in choanocytes, which open into the spongocoel. Choanocytes are another class of cells, they have whip-like flagella that they vibrate in order to move water through the sponge. Both the external and internal surfaces are covered by this trabecular net. The chambers throughout the body are irregular. The end result is a funnel or vase-like shape. Hence the name, 'Venus's-Flower-Basket.' At its base, E. aspergillum has a tuft of elongated spicules that attaches it to the ocean bottom (Buchsbaum and Pearse, 1987; Hickman, Roberts, and Larson 1997; Kaestner 1967).

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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    Beau McKenzie Soares, Fresno City College
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    Jerry Kirkhart, Fresno City College
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Habitat

    Habitat
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    This species is found attached to rocky areas of the seafloor. It is found from 100 to 1000 m below the surface, and is most common at depths greater than 500 m (Bayer and Owre, 1968; Coleman 1991; Pearse and Buchsbaum, 1987).

    Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; coastal

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
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    E. aspergillum's staple food is microscopic organisms and organic debris. These are filtered out of the water that flows through the sponge. (Britannica.com, 1999-2000).

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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    Euplectella_aspergillum/food_habits

Reproduction

    Reproduction
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    "Little is known about their reproduction". Details of reproduction of E. aspergillum are not known, therefore we can only explain the normal forms of reproduction in Porifera in general. Many times when unfavorable conditions occur sponges will resort to asexual reproduction. In marine sponges using asexual reproduction, amoebocytes attach themselves around the deteriorating sponge. Later epithelial cells surround the amoebocytes, and when the deteriorating sponge is all gone a new animal grows from the clump of cells. Some sponges have two sexes, and individuals have only one sex, but it is likely that E. aspergillum is hermaphroditic, producing both male and female gametes at different times. Archaeocytes and choanocytes have both been observed maturing into gametes, and these maturations are similar to those found in higher animals. Sperm enter the sponge through the inhalant current and then fertilize the ova. A carrier cell, an amoebocyte, effects fertilization of the ovum so that not just sperm and ova are involved. Then the carrier cell and the sperm both reach the ovum, and form a cytostome, which engulfs both the carrier cell and sperm. This zygote then goes through radial holoblastic cleavage forming cells all similar in size and shape. Then the embryo forms a free-swimming larva, which eventually develops into the new sponge.

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
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    Through researching this invertebrate animal, and not finding a great deal of information I have come to the conclusion that since E. aspergillum is found at such great depths, the status of its population is not known.

    US Federal List: no special status

    CITES: no special status

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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Benefits

    Benefits
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    No adverse affects recorded.

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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    Euplectella_aspergillum/economic_importance_negative
    Benefits
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    No positive benefits recorded.

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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Other Articles

    Untitled
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    One very unique feature about the E. aspergillum is that very often you can find some abyssal shrimp within the cavity produced by the lattice structure that makes up the sponge. Sometimes young male and female shrimp enter this cavity while they are still larva and over time they begin to feed and grow. The small shrimp grow and become too large to leave the silicon cavity of the sponge. It is customary in Japanese culture to give this elegant glass sponge away as a wedding gift symbolizing the wedding vow, "Till death us do part" (Jensen,1979).

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    Soares, B. 2001. "Euplectella aspergillum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Euplectella_aspergillum.html
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    Euplectella_aspergillum/comments