For 45 years Bill Austin dedicated himself to documenting sea sponges living in the north east region of the Pacific Ocean. He has been lucky to have connected with a team of equally dedicated researchers who have helped him photograph, identify and record the coordinates of hundreds of sponges. This Website is dedicated to continuing their work.

“The oceans are the planet’s last great living wilderness, man’s only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
— John L. Culliney

the Core Team

  • Bruce Ott - research
  • Henry Reiswig - research
  • Neil McDaniel - Photography
  • Judy Kenzie - site design & content research


Austin, W.C. 1984. Underwater birdwatching. In: S.K. Juniper & R..O. Brinkurst (eds.). Proceedings of a multidisciplinary symposium on Saanich Inlet. Canadian Tech. Rept. of Hydrogr. and Ocean Sci. No.38:104p.

Austin, W.C., K.W. Conway, J.V. Barrie, J.L. Luternauer. 1989. Silicon Alley: Glass Reefs or lifestyles of the rich and siliceous. Western Society of Naturalists. Abstract.

Austin, W.C., Conway, K.W., Barrie, J.V. & Krautter, M. 2007. Growth and morphologya reef-forming glass sponge: Implications for recovery from widespread trawl damage.In:  Custódio, M.R. Lôbo-Hajdu, G,  Hajdu, E, Muricy, G. (eds). PoriferaResearch: Biodiversity, Innovation & Sustainability. Serie Livros 28.  Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro   pp. 139-145.  [accessible on line.  Google:   title of book]

Austin, W.C. & G. Marliave. 1991. The secret life of boot sponges. Western Society of Naturalists Abstract.

Austin, W.C. 1996. The relationship of silicate levels to the shallow water distribution of hexactinellids in British Columbia. (abstr.), Mem. Queensland Mus 44:44.

Boury-Esnault, N. & J. Vacelet 1994. Preliminary studies on the organization and development of a hexactinellid sponge from a Mediterranean cave, Oopsacas minuta. P. 407-415 IN: Sponges n Time and Space. van Soest, van Kempen & Braekman (eds.). Balkema, Rotterdam.

Conway. K.W., J.V. Barrie, W.C. Austin, J.L. Luternauer. 1991. Holocene sponge bioherms on the British Columbia continental shelf. Coastal Shelf Research. 11(8):771-790.

Conway, K.W., Barrie, J.V., Hill, P.R., Austin, W.C., Picard, K.  2007.  Mapping sensitive benthic habitats in the Strait of Georgia, coastal British Columbia: deep-water sponge and coral reefs.  Geological Survey of Canada.  Current research. 2007-A2. 8pp.

Conway, K.W., M. Krautter, J.V. Barrie, W.C. Austin, and M. Neuweiler. 2000. Hexactinellid sponge reefs on the British Columbia shelf: submersible observations and geophysical mapping. Poster

Dayton, P.K., G. A, Robilliard, R.T. Paine and L.B. Dayton. 1974. Biological accommodation in the benthic community at McMurdo Sound Antarctica. Ecol.. Monographs 44: 105-128.

Drinnen, R.W., B. Emmett, B, Humphrey, B. Austin, D.J. Hull.  1995.  Saanich Inlet Study.  Water Use Inventory & Water Quality Assessment. 

Farrow, G.E., Syvitski, J.P.M. and Tunnicliffe, V. 1983.  Suspended particulate loading on the macrobenthos in a highly turbid fjord: Knight Inlet, British Columbia, Cnn. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 40:2733-288.

Krautter, M 1997. Aspekte zur Palaokologie pospalozoischer Kieselschwamme. Profil. 11: 199-324.

Leys, S. , N. R.J. Lauzon. 1998. Hexactinellid sponge ecology: growth rates and seasonality in deep water sponges. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.: 230:111-129.

Leys, S.P., Wilson, K., Holeton, C. Reiswig, H.M., Austin, W.C., Tunnicliffe, V. (2004). Patterns of glass sponge (Porifera, Hexactinellida) distribution in coastal waters of British Columbia. Canada.  Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 283:133-149

Leys, S. P., G.O. Mackie, and H.M.Reiswig. 2007.   Biology of glass sponges. Adv. Mar.  Biol. 52:  1-145.

Marliave, J.B. 1992. Environmental monitoring through natural history research. Canadian Tech. Report Fisheries Aquatic Sci. 1879:199-209.

Reiswig, H.M. and G.O. Mackie, 1983. Studies on hexactinellid sponges. III. The taxonomic status of Hexactinellida.  Phil. Trans Roy. Soc. London B, 301:419-428.  it

Thomson, R. E. , W.S. Huggett, & L.S.C. Kuwahara. 1980.  Data record of current observations volume VIII. Discovery Passage, Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait.  Inst.of Ocean Sci., SIdney, BC. 

Yahel, G., D. I.  Eerkes-Madrano, and S. P. Leys. 2006 .Size independent selective filtration of ultraplankton by hexactinellid glass sponges. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 45:181-194.