Endosymbiosis

We have learned so many cool things thus far about Sea Sponges. They are useful to humans, useful to sea creatures and great for the great barrier reef!  There is something else totally cool about Sea Sponges that I bet you didn’t know defenders - Sea Sponges are something called Endosymbionts!  Endosymbionts are organisms that have evolved a method of mutual life sharing and teaming up to help benefit one another.  Sea Sponges have something called Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates living inside their cells!  Isn’t that weird?  These Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates make their food through photosynthesis and because they are inside the cells of the Sea Sponges- they are technically making food for them as well.

In fact, many species of Sea Sponges get a significant amount of their nutrients from the Cyanobacteria.  These Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates help the sponges to produce energy in areas of the ocean that are very low in nutrients. They also help to give the Sea Sponges some of their brilliant colors.

To learn more about photosynthesis, head to the Botany Center in the Kids’ Zone and if you want to learn more about awesome Dinoflagellates head to the Animal Wonders of the World tile!

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