This class will be taught from the bottom of the ocean from the world's only underwater laboratory, Aquarius. located 60 feet (20 m) deep and 9 miles (14 km) offshore in the Florida Keys. Sponges have been on planet Ocean longer than other forms of macroscopic life. A typical barrel sponge moves and filters more than 70 tons of water per day. How can such a creature with microscopic moving parts move a mass equal to 70 automobiles? What are sponges filtering out of the water and why? At Conch Reef in Florida where the Aquarius underwater laboratory is located, researchers have uncovered a host of exciting secrets about how sponges work. By performing experiments on the sponges where they live, scientists now know what they are eating, how they defend themselves against getting eaten by other creatures, how they affect water quality on the reef, and how old they get (which is really really old.....hundreds of years in some cases!).