Friday Flick: Exploring the ‘Sea of Glass’

In October CPAWS BC hosted an underwater expedition to explore the ancient glass sponge reefs off the coast of Vancouver on board the Aquarius submarine.

Juno–winning musician Dan Mangan and explorer (and Mountain Life contributor) Bruce Kirkby joined a team of scientists and conservationists on a journey to the bottom of Howe Sound.

The expedition provided the first look at the Strait of Georgia reefs, which lie within sight of downtown Vancouver. The invaluable footage of the reefs will give the scientific community a clear picture of the composition and health of the reefs.

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Glass sponges are unlike anything else on earth. These fragile animals are made entirely of silica. As they grow into reefs they become thriving underwater communities for the countless creatures who live among these gems of marine biodiversity.

BC is the only place on the planet that reef-building glass sponges have been discovered. Prior to the discovery, scientists knew of similar reefs only from fossil records, and believed they had gone extinct with the dinosaurs. Dr. Manfred Krautter, an expert on fossilized reefs, called it “one of the most exciting and important scientific discoveries in the world.”

Despite their incalculable value to the world, the glass sponge reefs are unprotected. CPAWS-BC is campaigning for a marine protected area to save the reefs before it is too late. You can help preserve this natural wonder here.