Ahhhh-CHOO! Was that your neighbor, or your sponge?!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Kitchen sponges are modeled after sea sponges. These marine animals have no brains or muscles. They just sit and eat all day! Sounds nice. But, what about cleaning off?
Niklas Kornder and team from the University of Amsterdam investigated how sponges get rid of waste!
They analyzed time-lapse videos of sponges filter-feeding. That’s when sponges catch food through pores in their bodies. Researchers noticed that sometimes non-food particles get caught in the mucus that covers the sponges.
Every few hours, the sponge SQUEEZED its body and shed the mucus. A gezundheit moment! This is surprising because the mucus moved out the sponge – AGAINST the flow of water.
The researchers think that sponges do this to keep non-food particles from clogging their pores. The sponges’ released waste may provide nutrients for other organisms! Bottom feeders.
Huh. I wonder what Spongebob uses to blow HIS nose?
Kornder, N. A., Y. Esser, D. Stoupin, S. P. Leys, B. Mueller, M. J. A. Vermeij, J. Huisman, and J. M. de Goeij. 2022. Sponges sneeze mucus to shed particulate waste from their seawater inlet pores. Current biology: CB.