Phenomena

Filter-Feeding

Sponges are filter-feeding marine animals that rely on water flow to obtain their nutrients and remove waste. By injecting non-toxic fluorescein dye at their base, one can visualize the flow they induce in the water. Only seconds after the dye is introduced, the sponges have pumped it in, through, and out. Different parts of the sponge filter particles of various sizes for food. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are transported, respectively, into and out of cells via diffusion. In this way, the sponge’s pumping fulfills digestive, respiratory, and excretory functions.  (Image credit: Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, source video; submitted by Jason C)

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