Diving deep for glass sponge reefs
Most scientists spend weeks and months toiling away in labs and lecture halls. But if they're lucky, their research can sometimes take them out of that routine.
Dr. Sally Leys is in the Hecate Strait off the coast of British Columbia, leading an expedition that's exploring the health of the rare glass sponge reefs that are found here.
Watch: Live video feed from the 2017 Glass Sponge Reef Research Cruise: An expedition to Canada's newest Marine Protected Area
Some of these reefs are thought to be over 9000 years old. Fossilized versions in Europe date back to the Jurassic period, but nowhere else have living examples been found. They are a completely unique ecosystem.
As of February of this year, the need to preserve them was recognized by the creation of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs Marine Protected Area.
Dr. Leys is a professor in the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.
But Bob McDonald, host of Quirks & Quarks, spoke to her on board the Canadian Coast Guard's research vessel, the John P. Tully.