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Return of the Sponges!!

Don't be afraid, its not a 60's horror movie. July was sponge restoration month down in the Florida Keys! This is a collaborative research project between the Butler Lab at Old Dominion University and the Behringer Lab at the University of Florida. Our goal is to determine the "ecological feasibility" of jump starting the return of sponges to areas of western Florida Bay where they were killed by the cyanobacteria plankton bloom of 2007. The first picture below show new "cuttings" that were out-planted this month and the second two show what similar cuttings look like after three years! Notice all of the other animals that call the restored sponges home.