Resilience of the Russian Hat Sponge (Vazella pourtalesi) to re-suspended sediment in the deep sea


The deep-sea sponge Vazella pourtalesi is a key species in
the North West Atlantic ocean. It provides habitat and shelter for a diversity of invertebrate and fish species. Despite their large abundance on the East Canadian continental shelf, knowledge about this sponge species is still limited and their habitats in the deep ocean are facing threats by human impacts. Bottom trawling for fish is causing plumes of re-suspended sediments which can travel large distances with oceanic currents. These suspended particles have the potential to alter the physiological performance of sponges, by clogging their aquiferous system and inhibit their functionality. Aquaria experiments (based in Halifax, Canada) with individuals sampled from the deep-sea should reveal, if Vazella pourtalesi has the potential to cope with different concentrations and exposure intervals to suspended sediments.

Used skills

  • Physiological performance measurements
  • Sediment exposure response of marine invertebrates
  • Maintenance and handling of sensitive deep sea species


  • Some technical knowledge and experience in aquaria experiments
  • Readiness to work in cold environments (Canada in general, but also in cold laboratories and cold water aquaria)
  • For allowance to work at our Canadian partner institute the following documents are necessary: certificate of good conduct from ALL countries you lived in the past 5 years, birth certificate, eVisa to Canada (can be done online)
  • Please note that you will need to secure funding for travel and accommodation yourself

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