Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, in the deep, cold waters of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, ancient glass sponge reefs create a vibrant and unique ecosystem.
With origins dating back to the Late Jurassic Period, roughly 200 million years ago, these beautiful glass structures were once thought to be extinct worldwide.
The complex reef structure that these sponges create provides an important water filtration service while providing refuge, habitat, and nursery grounds for a wide range of aquatic species, including rockfish, finfish, and shellfish.
They are a living window into an ancient world and are vital to the future of the ecosystem they support.
The Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs have been designated as a Marine Protected Area.
This designation will help to conserve and protect the biological diversity, structural habitat, and ecosystem function of these truly exceptional glass sponge reefs.
The designation will also help with managing human activities in the area, and continuing research to better understand the glass sponges and the reefs they have formed.
Canada is fortunate to have globally unique reefs in its waters and is recognizing the importance of protecting these biological and ecological wonders for future generations.