The sponge project is an joint initiative between Seasearch Ireland and the Galway Atlantaquaria to increase the profile of sponges in Ireland highlighting the biodiversity of sponges in Irish waters through recording schemes and building the profile of these amazing creatures with the general public.
The goal of the project is to increase the records of common and cryptic sponges in Irish waters and to encourage divers and snorkelers to record the sponges they see in Irish inshore waters and offering the opportunity to the general public to expand their knowledge of sponges to better enable them to record through the Explore your Shore project.
To update and enlarge the records of distribution of the most readily identifiable sponge species
To update and enlarge the records of distribution of cryptic sponge species in Irish waters
To determine the sponge diversity in diving sites regularly visited by the divers involved in the project
Demonstrate the capacity to record presence/absence data for 6 common sponges
Demonstrate the potential for citizen science recorders to be used in assembling a sponge sample collection for future genetic analysis
Raise awareness of citizen science sponge recording
Track the introduction of non-native sponge species
Create a gallery of cryptic sponges identified to species as a resource for the diving community
This project is only possible due to funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through National Parks and Wildlife Service Small Recording Grant which the Galway Atlantaquarium with Seasearch Ireland as a project partner secured in 2023 to enable the purchase of equipment for the sponge recording project. We would like to thank the Department for supporting our work