A groundbreaking new report, Deep-sea Sponge Grounds: Reservoirs of Biodiversity, which highlights deep-sea sponge science and conservation was recently launched at the European Marine Biology Syposium, hosted by Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. 

The report has been compiled by leading experts as part of the United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre's (UNEP-WCMC) Biodiversity Series, and the UNEP Regional Seas Technical Report series. It is aimed at boosting the protection and sustainable management of these long-overlooked diverse and ancient habitats that, being slow-growing and long-surviving, are particularly vulnerable to human activities such as bottom-trawl fishing. 

The report also draws attention to how little is currently known - a global map of sponges does not yet exist - and demonstrates the crucial need to develop fuller knowledge and understanding of these habitats together with raising awareness as to why sponge grounds are important and the threats they face.

Press coverage of the report has been extensive, including features in the Scotsman, Daily Express, the Sydney Morning Herald and on the BBC.